American Petroleum Institute, Energy Industry Groups Sue US Government Over Oil, Gas Leasing Halt
16:30 GMT 16.08.2021 (Updated: 17:06 GMT 16.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Eric GayIn this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, file photo, the sun sets behind an idle pump jack near Karnes City, Texas. Demand for oil continues to fall due to the new coronavirus outbreak.
© AP Photo / Eric Gay
Earlier, in June, a US judge struck down the White House order to pause leases for new oil and gas development on US public land in an attempt to promote a reduction of fossil fuel use in the country.
The American Petroleum Institute and 11 energy industry trade groups have joined forces to sue the Biden administration for issuing restrictions in January 2021 on the sale of leases for new oil and gas drilling operations on federal lands and waters. The lawsuit, filed with a federal court in Louisiana, seeks to force the US Department of the Interior to resume the sale of leases.
The lawsuit follows a court victory for the American energy companies in June, when a Louisiana court ruled in favour of repealing the suspension on the sale of oil and gas development leases introduced by the White House in January under the pretext of reviewing the federal oil and gas leasing programme.
It had been promised that the review would be finalised by the summer, but the Department of the Interior vowed at the end of July to release it "very soon". However, instead, the department announced on 3 August the suspension of nine leases that the Trump administration had sold in the Arctic National Refuge in January 2021. The government said it would conduct another review, this time of the impact of the drilling operations on the local wildlife.
US President Joe Biden pledged during his campaign to draw his country away from the use of fossil fuels over their impact on the environment and climate. This promise resulted in him immediately halting the sale of new leases for developing oil and gas deposits on federal lands, although at the time, leases already allocated remained unaffected. Biden also suspended the Keystone XL pipeline construction, despite the criticism from energy companies and Republican politicians.