Led by Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Republican lawmakers are rebuking President Biden’s move to unilaterally ban energy leasing on federal lands. The lawmakers are introducing the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act, which would prohibit the president, as well as the Departments of Interior, Energy, and Agriculture, from sidestepping Congress to implement such bans.
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President shall not carry out any action that would prohibit or substantially delay the issuance of any of the following on Federal land, unless such an action has been authorized by an Act of Congress: (A) New oil and gas leases, permits, approvals, or authorizations. (B) New coal leases, permits, approvals, or authorizations. (C) New hard rock leases, permits, approvals, or authorizations. (D) New critical minerals leases, permits, approvals, or authorizations," the bill reads.
Lummis, and other Senate Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, pointed out that the president’s unilateral ban would severely affect energy usage in western states, while fostering job loss.
“The Biden Ban would be nothing short of catastrophic for western states that are already reeling from the decline in energy usage brought on by the pandemic and continued volatility in energy markets. It’s a one-two punch that means disaster for energy jobs, families and communities,” Lummis said on Thursday. “Through the POWER Act, Congress would reiterate that federal lands should serve not the whims of a radical progressive minority, but the needs of all Americans.”
This all comes during a time when our economy is already struggling from the global pandemic. I am introducing the POWER Act because we can’t afford reckless, unilateral actions like this.— Senator Cynthia Lummis (@SenLummis) January 27, 2021
Beyond that, conservation efforts across the United States are funded by the billions of dollars in revenue provided by energy development on public lands. The Biden Administration should take a look at the collateral damage this move will inflict.— Senator Cynthia Lummis (@SenLummis) January 27, 2021
The legislation is also supported by various energy and advocacy groups. A group of House Republicans are also introducing a companion bill in the lower chamber.