States Fight Back Against Biden’s Stealth Attacks On Oil, Gas Industry

(Daily Caller News Foundation) A coalition of 21 Republican-led states implored the Biden administration not to axe a key federal permit for oil and gas projects in a filing published Friday.

The states argued that a recently-announced review of the permit is unnecessary and increases fossil fuel industry uncertainty, according to the document obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The letter was filed in response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) announcement on March 28 that it would conduct a formal review of Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12), which isn’t set to expire until 2026, to assess its potential environmental justice and climate change impacts.

“Apparently President Biden doesn’t think the price of gas is high enough,” Republican Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who spearheaded the effort, told TheDCNF in an interview. “This is just going to keep exacerbating energy production and gas prices in America. This is nothing but more and more red tape.”

The NWP 12 permit, authorized under the Clean Water Act, allows oil and gas developers to bypass a lengthy government environmental review if their project has minimal climate or waterway impacts. The USACE’s March announcement stated that the administration was interested in implementing “potential off-ramps” that would force more fossil fuel projects to require a full review instead of using NWP 12.

The agency said it had opted for a formal review of the permit in accordance with a climate-focused executive order President Joe Biden signed on his first day in office. The executive order directed the Department of Defense to review the Trump administration’s last-minute renewal of NWP 12 on Jan. 13, 2021, which is also the subject of an ongoing lawsuit filed by an environmental group in which Montanafossil fuel industry groups and business groups have intervened on behalf of the defendants.

“This so-called review won’t address the real concerns facing our citizens—prominently, historically high energy prices,” the Republican states’ letter stated. “It will instead inject unnecessary, duplicative, and inequitable red tape into an already bureaucratically laden process.”

“Far from alleviating our current crisis, the Corps appears poised to take measures that will undermine NWP 12’s purpose and further jeopardize the Nation’s energy security and prosperity,” it continued. “Rather than re-review NWP 12 for the second time in two years, the Corps should instead return to issuing individual and general permits in accordance with its statutory duty.”

The average price of gasoline in the U.S. hit $4.59 per gallon Friday, slightly less than the all-time record set Thursday, while natural gas prices remained near multi-year highs, according to market data. Fossil fuel industry groups and Republicans have accused the Biden administration of unleashing an assault on new oil and gas development amid the global energy crisis.

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