A group of environmentalist activists is suing the Biden administration to vacate over 3,500 oil and gas drilling permits already approved in two states, despite rising fuel costs and a national energy crisis.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by two wildlife conservation activist groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians, and the environmental activist law firm Western Environmental Law Center.
The groups have sued the Department of the Interior, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning. The suit seeks to halt the approval of more than 3,500 permits in the Permian Basin in New Mexico and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, claiming the approved permits violate environmental laws.
Most disturbing is that the permits in question constitute almost all approved permits in those states.
“Climate change is driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation activities,” the groups wrote in their suit.
The 62-page filing includes a 192-page appendix that lists the targeted oil and gas wells they intend to shut down.
In the suit, the groups claim, “The drilling of these oil and gas wells will likely emit 490-600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas pollution over the course of their lifespans, equivalent to the annual emissions of between 131-161 coal fired power plants. This is both a nationally and globally significant quantity of emissions.”
The suit claims that the permits in question were approved in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), along with the relevant federal regulations.
The groups allege that the BLM failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in what they claim violates the ESA. They claim the agencies failed “to consider or take action to prevent the unnecessary and undue degradation of public lands resulting from ongoing oil and gas permitting,” violating the FLPMA. The suit further claims the agencies failed to “take a hard look at environmental justice” under NEPA, specifically as it relates to the “disproportionate and adverse effects from climate change” felt by communities in Wyoming and New Mexico.
The groups are seeking an injunction that would vacate the leases allowing for oil and gas drilling in both states.
According to data from the BLM website, more than 3,800 permits were approved in Wyoming and New Mexico between January 21, 2021, and May 31, 2022. Those leases represent the majority of permits issued nationwide at that time.
This latest lawsuit comes as the Biden administration continues to undermine new oil and gas leasing and drilling.
This is the latest despicable act by the anti-American left.
In November 2021, the Department of Interior (DOI) released a report recommending BLM reduce the amount of land available for new drilling leases and impose higher costs on oil companies. In May of this year, the Department canceled a massive lease sale of more than 1 million acres in Alaska and two other leases in the Gulf of Mexico.