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Wyoming governor sues Department of Interior over oil and gas contract cancellations

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Chris Woodward

(The Center Square) – Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon is again taking the Department of Interior to court. The governor has filed a second federal lawsuit against the Department relating to a Bureau of Land Management decision to pause oil and gas lease sales. In a statement, the governor called the litigation timely and vital to the interests of people living in his state. 

“Wyoming’s energy resources can help power the nation and bring down costs at the pump,” said the governor. “BLM’s decision to cancel lease sales sure seems to be a violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law, (and) I firmly believe the pause in lease sales was politically driven and not based in law or fact.”

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The first lawsuit challenged the Biden administration’s actions in First Quarter 2021, halting federal oil and gas leasing in Wyoming. A district court later ruled Secretary Deb Haaland’s decision was lawful. However, it did not consider whether other cancelations were a violation. The new lawsuit involves paused sales that Gordon said should have taken place in the second and third quarters of 2021 and the third quarter of this year. 

“BLM went 18 months without a single oil and gas lease sale and has yet to resume regularly scheduled quarterly lease sales,” said the governor’s office. 

In April, Secretary Haaland said Interior’s actions are meant to take into account things such as local communities, the environment, air quality, and water.