U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has introduced a bill opposing President Joe Biden’s moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands.
During his first full week in office, Biden signed an executive order aimed at making climate change a central focus in the creation and oversight of U.S. policy domestically and abroad. The executive order also mandated a pause on all new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters until the secretary of the Interior completes a thorough review of federal oil and gas.
Boebert’s latest bill, the “Protecting American Energy Jobs Act,” is aimed at ending the moratorium.
“Joe Biden has unilaterally imposed job-killing, anti-energy mandates that are going to crush my district and the people that live within in (sic) it,” Boebert, R-Rifle, said in a statement on her website.
Boebert’s proposed legislation seeks to nullify two of the president’s executive actions, including one that revokes the presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, and a secretarial order issued by the secretary of the Interior.
The legislation would also require Congressional approval for actions that prohibit or delay new permits, leases or approvals for oil and gas, coal, hard rock and critical minerals.
Boebert’s first four bills as a congresswoman have all been in opposition to actions taken by Biden’s executive orders. Her other bills seek to prevent the U.S. from re-entering the Paris climate agreement, overturn Biden’s mask mandate policy and cut off funding to the World Health Organization.
With a Democratic majority in both the Senate and the House, the four pieces of legislation are unlikely to go anywhere. However, Boebert has been an outspoken critic of Biden’s executive orders on Twitter, and introducing the bills has allowed her to emphasize her displeasure while showing her constituents she is working to thwart his agenda.
“If Biden wants Congress to work with him, he should work with Congress instead of signing 15 executive orders and 2 executive actions to circumvent us,” Boebert said in a tweet.
Boebert’s main criticisms of Biden’s pause on oil and gas are that it would take away jobs during the pandemic that has exacerbated unemployment rates, and it would make Americans depend on foreign countries for natural resources.
“There is no reason the U.S. should become more dependent on volatile foreign sources from countries like Russia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia when we can safely produce these resources right here in America,” Boebert said.
From the day Biden signed the executive action, the congresswoman has been an outspoken critic of it. Soon after his executive order, she released a statement denouncing it.
“While the Biden administration pretends big oil is its target, the reality is it’s the folks in small rural communities that will be hit hardest by today’s indefinite moratorium,” Boebert said in a statement.
Boebert’s efforts outlined in the bill are backed by other Republican representatives and some heads of Colorado organizations, including Chelsie Miera, executive director of West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
“Relinquishing our energy and jobs to foreign nations will harm our economy and hasten the impacts of climate change,” Miera said in a statement. “... Nearly 30% of Colorado households are energy-burdened and American energy alleviates a further pinch to those families on limited and fixed incomes and small businesses scraping to get by in the wake of the global pandemic.”
Others, including U.S. Rep. and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; American Exploration & Mining Association President Mark Compton; and Conservatives for Property Rights President Jim Edwards also released statements in support of Boebert’s bill.
“The aggressive assault on our oil, gas, and mining industries comes by unilateral administrative fiat,” Edwards said in a statement. “Such abuse of power is out of sync with republican self-government. CPR applauds Rep. Boebert for her leadership.”
Grace George is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.