There are governors who see the stupidity and destructiveness in executive orders about energy promulgated by Democrat Pres. Joe Biden and act to mitigate their ill effects. Then there’s Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.
In his first week in office, Biden halted energy leasing activity for 60 days on federal lands, both onshore and offshore, calling for review of policy. He could hardly have made it last longer; federal law requires quarterly lease sales. But getting permits to drill is another thing, and although stockpiled permits will permit exploration to continue on federal lands for some time, deliberate slow-walking of that process such as bans like this can hinder production.
About a quarter of all fossil fuel energy production, which grew substantially under Republican former Pres. Donald Trump and thereby allowed the U.S. to become energy-independent for the first time in decades, occurs in federal land. And another Biden executive order dumbs down the process of justifying new regulations, which for decades have required comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, that could expedite regulations on energy production based more on subjective whimsy than objective economic factors. There’s even talk that the Biden Administration would try through regulatory action make the ban permanent, although that remains dubious legally.
The debatably-legal ban by Biden hasn’t been met lying down. Almost immediately he was sued for overreaching authority granted to him under law. Some states’ governors also have acted to counter this and other orders related to energy.
In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order of his own, directing every state agency to use “all lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the continued strength, vitality, and independence of the energy industry.” Under the order, agencies are directed to identify potential litigation, notice-and-comment opportunities, and any other means to prevent federal overreach within the law.
Although Louisiana doesn’t have much on federal land in the way of production onshore, a lot of offshore activity rings the state. And because of a federal law that helps Gulf Coast states and related state laws, in 2020 Louisiana saw nearly $156 million in funds going to coastal restoration from offshore activity. A permanent ban would blow a serious hole in Louisiana’s coastal restoration budget by mid-decade, as well as cost the state $95 million in tax revenues from the reduced activity and estimated 48,000 jobs lost from a permanent ban.
With his colleague across the Sabine River acting as decisively as he can, how did Edwards react? He took no action and released no official statement, but when prodded by the media did say this: “The continued leasing and development of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico is critical not only to the coastal Gulf states that host the infrastructure and support industries for Gulf OCS exploration, but to the economy and energy security of the nation as a whole. We look forward to learning more about the Biden administration’s plan and working together to achieve responsible energy exploration and production.”
Yeah, that’s all. And it should surprise no one that Edwards will do next-to-nothing to protect taxpayers, residents, and jobs from Biden’s acting on shoddy pseudo-science, because he agrees essentially with Biden’s warped worldview on climate.
Remember, even before Carnival had ended last year amid warning signs about the nascent Wuhan coronavirus pandemic both in the U.S. and internationally all around, Edwards was more preoccupied about climate change than the virus. That’s when he announced a forthcoming executive order establishing his Climate Initiatives Task Force to “proactively work to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving up global temperatures, increasing sea level and other risks that threaten our health and safety, quality of life, economic growth, and vital habitats and ecosystems.”
Later, when he actually issued it in August, its goals dovetailed with Biden targets in reduction of carbon dioxide impossible to reach without the abandonment of the fossil fuel industry. Packed with a majority of his allies both in and out of government (by way of example, the head of the interest group Center for Progressive Reform, a leftist organization full baptized into the church of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming), the group is to issue an interim report this week containing its policy recommendations undoubtedly preordained generally to match Biden’s.
Edwards won’t stand up to the science-impaired, ideologically-driven climate agenda of Biden harmful to the general public. Other, more responsible, Louisiana elected officials will have to take up his slack.