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Wyoming sues Biden administration over canceled lease sales

Cropped Paul Lowry : CC BY 2.0

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (KIFI) – Wyoming has filed a second lawsuit against the Department of Interior related to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to “pause” oil and gas lease sales.

In the first lawsuit, the State challenged the Administration’s early actions that brought federal oil and gas leasing to a sudden halt in Wyoming.

The United States District Court for the District of Wyoming found that the Secretary's decision to cancel the First Quarter 2021 lease sale was lawful, but did not consider whether the Secretary's other cancellations violated the law.

The case is targeted at the paused sales that should have taken place in the second and third quarters of 2021 and the third quarter of 2022. The BLM went 18 months without a single oil and gas lease sale and has yet to resume regularly scheduled quarterly lease sales.

“This litigation is timely and vital to the interests of Wyoming citizens. Beyond that, Wyoming’s energy resources can help power the nation and bring down costs at the pump. BLM’s decision to cancel lease sales sure seems to be a violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law,” Governor Gordon said. “I firmly believe the pause in lease sales was politically driven and not based in law or fact.”

Before pursuing legal action, Governor Gordon asked Attorney General Bridget Hill to examine the earlier Federal court decision that allowed the Department of the Interior to skip the first quarter sale of 2021. After careful analysis, it is the State’s opinion that the Secretary of Interior does not have the same justification it provided for missing subsequent lease sales.

“Throughout my tenure as Governor, I have remained committed to protecting Wyoming and her economy against overreach from the federal government, and that is what this litigation is intended to do. I thank Attorney General Hill for defending Wyoming’s interests,” Governor Gordon said.

A copy of the state's Petition for Review may be found below.

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