LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana – Attorney General Mike Hunter on Wednesday joined a lawsuit to blunt the Biden administration’s continued attack on the oil and gas industry.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in the Western District of Louisiana, the president’s recent executive order that placed a moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities on public lands and offshore waters violates the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and Mineral Leasing Act.

The order unravels long-standing statutory arrangements and terminates benefits states receive from drilling activity.

Hunter said the unlawful executive order hurts Oklahoma jobs.

“I will stand firmly against any executive action of the Biden administration that hurts the oil and gas industry in the state,” Hunter said. “This is an attack on good-paying jobs on which Oklahomans depend, since numerous Oklahoma-based companies are negatively affected by this executive order.

“This action also stands to harm the environment because the payments from the federal government go directly to state environmental reclamation and protection projects. This ban halts those funds to states. If left unchecked, President Biden’s constant attacks could kill the industry.”

The executive order claims to protect the environment. However, the lawsuit contends it instead constitutes what is likely the single-largest divestment of revenue for environmental protection projects in American history.

States are entitled to significant portions of the proceeds from Outer Continental Shelf leasing and production. The Mineral Leasing Act has similar provisions for onshore oil and gas development.

Each year the federal government returns billions of dollars to states for environmental reclamation projects through the two acts.

The lawsuit also points out that the rules and regulations surrounding leasing activities on public lands and offshore waters were approved in 2016 by the then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden administration.

“Nothing in the order provides any rationale for this radical departure from the leasing policies of the Obama Administration, which the Trump Administration left in place,” the lawsuit says. “The only discernable rationale is to follow through on campaign promises to the most extreme elements of President Biden’s coalition.”

Oklahoma is one of 13 states that signed on to the lawsuit.

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