June 15 (Reuters) – A federal judge in Louisiana on Tuesday froze the Biden administration’s break on new oil and gas rentals on federal lands and waters.
The order granted a preliminary injunction to Louisiana and 12 other states that sued President Joe Biden and the Home Office during the recess.
Biden signed an executive order in January putting new oil and gas rental auctions on hold pending a review of the program. During his election campaign, he pledged to end new federal leases as part of a broad plan to fight climate change.
The ruling will remain in effect pending the final resolution of the case or orders from higher courts, according to a court document.
In the decision, Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana said states have met requirements to establish that they will suffer prejudice as a result of the hiatus on new oil and gas leases.
“Millions and maybe billions of dollars are at stake,” Doughty wrote.
He also said states had a “substantial probability of success” with their trials.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said the agency would comply with the decision.
“The Home Office continues to work on an interim report that will include initial findings on the state of federal conventional energy programs, as well as next steps and recommendations for the department and Congress to improve land management.” and public waters, create jobs, and build a fair and equitable energy future, ”the ministry said.
States that joined the Louisiana trial included Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio
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