Wyoming Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso along with over 20 other senators from several states across the U.S. have introduced the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act of 2021.
The POWER Act would prohibit the president or his secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Energy departments from blocking energy or mineral leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters without Congressional approval.
Senators joining Lummis and Barrasso include Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), John Boozman (Arkansas), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Bill Cassidy (Louisiana), Tom Cotton (Arkansas), John Cornyn (Texas), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Steve Daines (Montana), John Hoeven (North Dakota), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Mississippi), Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), John Kennedy (Louisiana), Mike Lee (Utah), Roger Marshall (Kansas), James Risch (Idaho), Mitt Romney (Utah), Dan Sullivan (Alaska) Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Tommy Tuberville (Alabama), and Roger Wicker (Mississippi).
A U.S. House of Representatives companion version of the bill is being sponsored by Rep. Yvette Herrell (New Mexico-02), and co-sponsored by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman, among others.
To read the bill, click here.
Of the bill Sen. Lummis said:
“The Biden Ban would be nothing short of catastrophic for western states that are already reeling from the decline in energy usage brought on by the pandemic and continued volatility in energy markets. It’s a one-two punch that means disaster for energy jobs, families and communities. Through the POWER Act, Congress would reiterate that federal lands should serve not the whims of a radical progressive minority, but the needs of all Americans.”
Her colleagues made the following comments:
Sen. Barrasso: “President Biden’s ban on new oil, gas, and coal leases is illegal and it robs people in Wyoming of their livelihoods. I will fight it every step of the way. Energy production on public lands is a critical source of revenue for our public schools, roads and bridges, water projects, and other essential services. It creates good-paying jobs and is the economic lifeblood of Wyoming. Senator Lummis and I are introducing the POWER Act to protect our way of life in the West. Our legislation will keep energy workers in their jobs and stop the president from pursuing this divisive and disastrous policy.”
Sen. Capito: “The Biden administration continues to sidestep Congress and enact Executive Orders that kill American jobs and attack our natural gas and oil industries. As our country continues to battle COVID-19, actions like this further deplete energy sectors in need of relief, and put our energy independence in jeopardy. This legislation creates a needed check on the Executive Branch, and makes certain that decisions like this are subject to debate in Congress and not rashly signed into action. We must continue to advocate for the families across America who are at risk of losing their livelihood and income in the middle of a pandemic.”
Sen. Cramer: “President Biden banning energy development on federal lands would increase the deficit, hurt state and tribal budgets, and make the United States more reliant on foreign producers like Saudi Arabia,”said Senator Cramer. “Our bill takes such a destructive option off the table, supports schools and workers, and protects America’s energy security.”
Sen. Crapo: “Energy and mineral development on federal lands provides affordable electricity to homes across America, and any effort to curtail production would threaten our nation’s energy independence and greatly reduce funding for federal conservation efforts. Idaho is home to vast mineral resources, including gold, silver, zinc, and phosphate, which provide high-paying, quality jobs across the state. Senator Lummis’ legislation ensures Idaho’s mineral resources can continue to be responsibly developed in accordance with federal law.”
Sen. Cruz: “As America continues to recover from a global pandemic, our energy industry desperately needs the Biden administration’s support, not its scorn. We must work to prevent any administration from crippling our energy industry without approval from Congress. I am proud to support this legislation that will fight back against the Biden administration’s radical environmental agenda and help our energy industry thrive by supporting hundreds of thousands of blue-collar jobs, keeping household energy costs low for American families, and maintaining our energy independence.”
Sen. Daines: “President Biden is continuing his attack on American energy, this time by blocking all new oil and gas leases on federal lands. This is another blow to Made in America energy, jobs and our Montana way of life,” Daines said. “This action will kill nearly one million American jobs, increase our reliance on the Middle East for energy, and will result in Montana alone losing over $40 million each year for services in rural communities. We can’t let this happen.”
Sen. Hoeven: “This legislation would protect our nation’s ability to utilize our abundant energy resources. By limiting the Biden administration’s efforts to impose a moratorium on federal energy or mineral leases, we are working to support good jobs, economic growth and energy security, while also maintaining an important source of revenue for federal, state and local government.”
Sen. Hyde-Smith: “The American people want balanced national energy policies that promote growth and price stability. Setting the stage to halt development of our energy resources will harm growth and raise costs, ultimately harming low-income families and small businesses across the nation,” Hyde-Smith said. “Congress should assert itself on critical energy development policies, which is the intent behind this legislation.”
Sen. Inhofe: “I have long been an advocate for energy and mineral development on federal lands, because – to put it simply – energy security is national security. Sadly, President Biden has already showed he is willing to bow to radical environmentalists determined to outlaw fossil fuels and their development. His actions are wrong and will reverse our substantial progress toward energy independence made under the previous administration. I am proud to join Senator Lummis in introducing the POWER Act, which would prohibit the Biden administration from following through on its proposal to block the issuing of new energy and mineral development on federal lands without first getting Congressional approval. I am sad to see the Biden administration’s commitment to continuing the failed, Obama-era “war on fossil fuels,” and I will not stop fighting for energy workers and job creators like those in Oklahoma and across the nation.”
Sen. Kennedy: “The Biden Ban on new oil and gas leasing will cost America tens of thousands of jobs, many of them in Louisiana. The energy industry is the lifeblood of our state, and we can’t afford to sacrifice jobs at a time when Louisianians are still recovering from the pandemic. Since the energy industry funds Louisiana’s conservation efforts, our storm-battered coasts can’t afford the Biden Ban either. We must protect both our jobs and our coasts from Washington’s overreach, and that’s just what the POWER Act will do.”
Sen. Marshall: “President Biden’s halt on energy leasing is another gut punch to hardworking Americans across the country. The move will kill thousands of jobs and set our country back to the Obama-era gas prices of $4 per gallon. The Biden administration needs to support the US energy sector and help businesses put people back to work, not continue to tear apart our economy.”
Sen. Risch: “The Biden administration’s move to ban mineral and energy leasing on federal lands is not only inconsistent with the multiple use mandate enshrined in law, but also raises our energy costs and endangers American energy and technology independence. We have learned all too well over the last year the national security risks posed by not having control over critical supply chains. Now is the time to develop our resources here at home, not diminish them.”
Sen: Romney: “The economic impacts of the suspension of oil and gas leasing on federal lands will be devastating to Utah’s rural communities, tribes, and small businesses,” Senator Romney said. “And they will be detrimental to Utah’s energy industry, which is struggling to stay afloat and keep Utahns employed during the pandemic. Long-term decisions or pauses to energy leases should be considered and approved by Congress, not by the stroke of a pen through executive order.”
Sen. Tuberville: “The expansion of oil and gas production over the last decade — and accelerated under the Trump Administration — has created hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs, decreased energy costs for everyday consumers, and made the U.S. the preeminent energy nation in the world. President Biden’s executive decision to halt the progress made in America’s energy sector is not only political pandering to satisfy radical environmental activists, it has real-world consequences and could cost more than 20,000 hardworking Alabamians their jobs. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and fight for our citizens and America’s energy independence.”
Rep. Westerman: “With the stroke of a pen, President Biden locked up millions of acres of federal lands and waters for oil and gas development. This means thousands of Americans will lose their jobs, OPEC could dominate our energy supply, and we’ll have no control over our imported energy’s environmental regulations. It’s unacceptable. I’m proud to introduce the POWER Act with my colleagues in both chambers of Congress, and I hope it serves as a wakeup call to the dangerous ripple effects of President Biden’s executive order. Securing American energy dominance while simultaneously conserving our environment should not be a partisan issue.”
Last week, President Biden’s Interior Department temporarily banned new energy leases and permits on federal lands. Sen. Lummis called that action a “strike on the heart of Wyoming jobs, families and communities” and counter-productive to environmental advocacy efforts.
Sen. Lummis added: “Since 2000, the U.S. has had the largest absolute decline in emissions of any country. We did this while at the same time rising to become the world’s top energy producer. The Biden Ban will push development from federal lands to other countries without the same environmental standards or requirements. Additionally, our energy development on public lands helps to fund conservation efforts, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund, to the tune of billions of dollars. No new leases means no new dollars for outdoor recreation and conservation.”
Additional statements of support from the Independent Petroleum Association of America, American Petroleum Institute, American Energy Alliance, Western Energy Alliance, and U.S. Oil & Gas Association can be found here.