U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., asked the Department of the Interior (DOI) what steps it was taking to ensure that future development on federal oil and gas leases in Wyoming are allowed to continue without interruption.
Their inquiry comes after the Wild Earth Guardians v. Zinke court decision in March, which halted drill permitting on Wyoming oil and gas leases. In a letter, the delegation asked the DOI to work fervently to meet all environmental permitting requirements and appeal the final decision if necessary to establish a clear standard regarding greenhouse gas analyses in environmental reviews.
“Energy development is the backbone of Wyoming’s economy, and our state is a top-ten producer of oil and natural gas,” the Wyoming delegation wrote. “Given that the federal government manages nearly half of Wyoming’s lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plays a large role in Wyoming’s energy economy.”
The members of the delegation also voiced their concerns that these types of court cases often arise at the behest of environmental groups whose stated desire is to end all oil and gas development.
“We are also concerned these groups will continue to pursue litigation without resolution,” the delegation wrote. “It is imperative that DOI continue to expeditiously and thoroughly complete its analyses, and see these matters to completion so final decisions are attained.”
Click here to read the delegation’s letter.
On March 20, 2019, a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C. issued a memorandum opinion in Wild Earth Guardians v. Zinke stating that the BLM did not adequately complete climate reviews for a series of Obama-era oil and gas lease sales. The court remanded the issue back to the BLM and said that the BLM must complete a more robust environmental analysis to predict greenhouse gas emissions linked to drilling and downstream uses of the oil and gas from Wyoming leases.