Biden Administration Launches Another Attack on the Oil and Gas Industry
In furtherance of the Biden Administration’s on-going war against the oil and gas and mining industries, the Secretary of the Interior (“Secretary”) issued Order No. 3401 (“Order”) on June 1, 2021. The Order was issued pursuant to Section 4(a) of Executive Order 13990 (Jan. 25, 2021), which placed a temporary moratorium on all activities of the federal government relating to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program (“Program”). Executive Order 13990 also generally alleged legal deficiencies underlying the Program, and required the Secretary to review the Program and conduct a new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the Program.
In the Order, the Secretary identified several legal deficiencies in the underlying record supporting the Program, including an insufficient analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and failure of the Record of Decision to properly interpret statutes. Based on the identified deficiencies, the Secretary directed the Department of the Interior to conduct a new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the Program and address the identified legal deficiencies. In addition, the Secretary suspended all activities related to the Program in the Arctic Refuge until such time as the Department of the Interior has completed its analysis. The Department of the Interior will publish a notice of intent in the Federal Register within 60 days of the Order to initiate the process to conduct a comprehensive environmental analysis.
A copy of the Order can be accessed here.