CHEYENNE – Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, along with 16 other Republican governors, sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday urging him to withdraw his executive order pertaining to oil and gas developments on federal land and in offshore waters.
This letter comes nearly a month after Biden announced an executive order that placed a six-month moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development. The contents of the letter stress the economic effect the order has on western states with considerable tracts of federal land.
In the letter, Gov. Gordon emphasized the importance of high-paying jobs created by the energy industry, as well as the order’s impact on energy independence and grid stability.
The letter states the order is estimated to spike American residential energy costs by $1.7 billion this year.
“To meet consumer demand and stabilize our electric grid, we depend on energy produced on private land and public land – we need to do both,” the letter stated. “Simply put, the order jeopardizes our national security interests and strips away the opportunity for Americans to be energy independent.”
Gov. Gordon’s office said he led the effort to arrange the letter. His signature was the first on the letter, which can be viewed in full here. Joining him were signatures of governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
“You began your presidency with calls for unity, specifically to end the divide that pits urban versus rural, and as Republican leaders, we stand ready to work with your administration to advance our states and country. In contrast, the lack of consultation with our states demonstrated by executive order 14008 is alarming, showing disregard for the citizens we serve and the businesses that employ them and keep our country running and our nation secure,” the letter said. “We encourage you to reverse course – pause the pause – and open a constructive dialog with each of us as you have promised the American people you would do. We look forward to receiving your response on this important issue.”
Gordon has been vocally critical of President Biden’s executive order. He virtually met with state lawmakers earlier this month to discuss state-level responses to the order. During that meeting he said having “adequate funding for litigation is of absolute importance.” That same week he publicly supported bills moving through the state Legislature aimed to help Wyoming energy, tourism and agriculture.
The Center for Western Priorities released an interactive report on Friday that mapped out 9.9 million acres of idle leases across 10 western states, making up approximately 47.4 percent of all leases in the region. Analysis revealed oil and gas industries had over 7,600 approved but unused drilling permits. Those are unaffected by the Biden’s executive order, which pertains only to new leases.