U.S. chamber of commerce condemns federal leasing ban

By Craig Fleming on 1/27/2021

WASHINGTON D.C. -- In response to the Biden Administration’s announcement that the Department of Interior will ban any oil and natural gas authorizations on federal lands and waters, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin said, “There is never a good time to disrupt domestic energy production, especially during a pandemic, but doing so at a time when our nation is in need of economic recovery is especially counter-productive and short-sighted. Halting production won’t halt demand for the energy we need, and the products we depend on. The U.S. oil and gas industry is the world’s leader in production and environmental stewardship, and now is not the time to increase our dependence on foreign sources. It also is not the time to harm American workers and consumers.” Approximately 22% of U.S. oil production comes from federal land. “The ban will hurt the entire U.S. economy, not just oil companies.”

During the press conference, additional input about how Biden’s federal leasing ban will negatively impact state income and jobs was offered by the following:

Rob Black, President and CEO, New Mexico Chamber of Commerce, said, “A federal ban on leasing will not reduce emissions, it will simply shift production to private land or to foreign countries.” In New Mexico, 56% of the state’s oil production comes from federal land. The ban is projected to cost the state $946 million per year in tax revenue and cause the loss of 28,000 jobs. “The ban will be devastating to our economy, added Black.”

Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said, “Approximately 94% of Louisiana’s oil production comes from offshore wells, most all output is from federal leases.” Hydrocarbon production accounts for 30% of the state’s economy, and employs 250,000 people. Louisiana has 18% of the U.S. refining capacity and “we are already seeing reductions in head count at these facilities,” Waguespack concluded.  

Diane Schwenke, President and CEO, Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, had the same concerns, stating that the ban will negatively impact 37,000 workers and cause the state of Colorado to lose $600 million per year in tax revenue. Schwenke also projected that the action will cause the loss of 10,000 jobs per year.   

Revoking Keystone XL permit. Durbin also stated, "The chamber also opposes President Biden’s action to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline—the most studied infrastructure project in American history—is already under construction and has cleared countless legal and environmental hurdles. This is a politically motivated decision that is not grounded in science. It will harm consumers and put thousands of Americans in the building trades out of work. Halting construction will also impede the safe and efficient transport of oil, and unfairly single out production from one of our closest and most important allies.”

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