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Federal Lands Moratorium Statement

A Statement from PESA Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley

PESA strongly opposes the executive order issued by President Biden today directing the Department of Interior to pause new oil and gas leasing on public lands and offshore waters.

The executive order appears to not impact existing operations or future permits for valid existing leases and does not restrict activities on private or state lands or leasing activities on tribal lands. The action imperils jobs, energy independence and the climate as the new restrictions cut future production over time.

The move is intended to move America towards a lower carbon future, but the moratorium could increase the nation’s greenhouse gas output. According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. shift from coal to natural gas reduced CO2 emissions by more than 2.8 billion metric tons since 2005. This is the largest source of energy-related carbon savings during that time.  

With 12% of U.S. natural gas produced from federal lands and waters, the Biden administration’s decision will, over time, deny America access to one of its best tools to lower carbon emissions, domestically produced natural gas. Limiting access to this resource will lead to increased energy bills and hurt vulnerable Americans already facing a COVID-driven economic crisis while also slowing the fight against climate change.

Job losses across the country could be severe. Oil and gas production on federal lands supports 145,000 jobs in New Mexico, 609,000 in Pennsylvania and 700,000 in Ohio. The moratorium jeopardizes many of these jobs. In addition, oil and gas production generated $11.7 billion in tax revenue for federal, state, local and tribal governments last year, according to the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue. This revenue is critical for helping state and local governments through challenging economic times. 

As America begins to recover from the COVID crisis, we need affordable, clean, and abundant energy, as well as good paying American jobs. While we look forward to working with the Biden administration, this new moratorium will deprive Americans access to affordable and reliable energy, destroy American jobs, and take billions of dollars from state and local governments. PESA urges the administration to reconsider this decision.

For more information about PESA’s advocacy efforts, contact Vice President Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.



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