WASHINGTON – The Utah congressional delegation comprised of U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), Representatives Chris Stewart (R-UT), John Curtis (R-UT), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Blake Moore (R-UT), as well as state officials including Governor Spencer Cox, Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson, Attorney General Sean Reyes, Senate President Stuart Adams, and Speaker of the House Brad Wilson, issued the following statement regarding the Biden administration’s action to suspend oil and gas leases on public lands:
“The Biden administration’s arbitrary decision to suspend oil and gas leasing and permitting on federal lands is a serious mistake that will harm the same small Utah businesses that are already hurting from the pandemic. This action perpetuates the very discord between rural and urban Americans that the President spoke out against in his inauguration speech. Although it is routine for an incoming administration to pause high-level agency decisions while agency leaders get into place, such a widespread suspension of routine permitting decisions normally made in the field is unprecedented.
“The economic impacts of this decision will be felt nation-wide and couldn’t come at a worse time for Utah’s rural communities, tribes, and small businesses. Our energy industry is among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Utahns previously employed in the energy sector have lost their jobs in historic numbers. This decision only exacerbates the problem.
“We encourage President Biden to reconsider this counterproductive step. We are eager to work with his administration to improve management of our public lands, but gratuitously punishing our rural economy is not helpful.”