Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, argued on Thursday that President Biden's order to halt new drilling on federal lands will kill 58,700 jobs in eight states in the West, “where over 97% of the federal production is found.”
Sgamma made the argument on “Fox & Friends” the morning after Biden announced his executive order which the president said, “directs the secretary of the interior to stop issuing new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters.”
“We are going to start properly manage lands and waterways in ways that allow us to protect, preserve the full value that they provide for us for future generations,” President Biden added.
On Wednesday Western Energy Alliance, which represents 200 oil and natural gas companies, filed a lawsuit challenging Biden’s executive order banning oil and natural gas leasing on federal public lands, according to a news release.
The release cited the complaint which, “challenges Biden’s order as exceeding presidential authority and constituting a violation of the Mineral Leasing Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act.”
Sgamma pointed to a study from the American Petroleum Industry, which she noted revealed “about 10.3 million people directly or indirectly derive their wages and income from the oil and natural gas industry.”
She noted that the impact of President Biden’s executive order to halt drilling on federal lands would be “felt the most” in the West, “where there is about 700 million acres of federal land,” stressing that she was referring to “working landscapes in the west that are owned and managed by the federal government.”
She noted that Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park were excluded because they are “protected areas.”
Biden signed a total of 17 executive orders within minutes of entering the Oval Office for the first time on Wednesday. The orders reversed a number of Trump administration policies and covered areas Biden identified as his priorities on the campaign trail, including climate change.
In addition to temporarily suspending oil and gas permits on federal lands and waters, Biden halted the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in the series of orders aimed at tamping down the U.S. fossil fuel industry and combating climate change.
In remarks made by Biden on Wednesday before signing executive actions on tackling climate change, the president pointed to “a key plank” of his Build Back Better Recovery Plan, which he noted “is building a modern, resilient climate infrastructure and clean energy future that will create millions of good-paying union jobs.”
“This notion that killing oil and natural gas is suddenly going to create jobs elsewhere is just a false one,” Sgamma said.
“The energy we use in the United States, over 70% of it comes from oil and natural gas so people still need to drive their cars, they need to heat their homes, they need to turn on the switch and have reliable electricity 24/7,” she continued.
“So if we kill oil and natural gas in the United States, we merely have to import that oil and natural gas from overseas, which doesn't make sense because we produce it here in the United States under very strict environmental regulations, not so much in Russia.”