Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw has introduced a bill that aims to protect oil and gas industry jobs near the Gulf of Mexico.
The legislation comes after President Biden signed an executive order this week to suspend oil and gas leasing on federal lands and offshore waters for one year.
“Texas energy producers are bearing the brunt of President Biden’s foolish, job-killing executive orders in the first days of this administration,” Crenshaw said in a Thursday statement, adding that the new administration “is showing little regard to the livelihoods of blue-collar workers who are already struggling during this pandemic.”
“Energy production is critical for jobs, our economy, and also funds coastland conservation and hurricane preparedness,” he continued. “This bill will ensure that production continues despite President Biden’s terrible executive orders.”
The bill, called the Conservation Funding Protection Act, requires at least two annual area-wide lease sales on available acreage in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico and maintains all current environmental laws and reviews.
Crenshaw’s bill is the House version of Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy’s Conservation Funding Protection Act.
Republican Reps. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, August Pfluger of Texas, Ronny Jackson of Texas, Randy Weber of Texas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Lance Gooden of Texas, Jerry Carl of Alabama and Michael Guest of Mississippi are co-sponsoring the legislation
“When Washington radicals ban drilling on federal lands, Americans lose their jobs, investment flows overseas, and communities across America lose a primary source of revenue for schools, health care, and conservation efforts,” Scalise wrote in a Thursday op-ed for Fox News.
Gulf states could lose “hundreds of thousands of jobs” in the offshore drilling industry and get billions of dollars added to tax revenues every year as a result of Biden’s order, he added.
Crenshaw on Wednesday commended four Democratic Texas state lawmakers who urged Biden to rescind order No. 3395 in a letter, noting that the action “is a precursor to more problematic action regarding a permanent ban on responsible oil and gas leasing in federal waters and on federal lands.”
Many workers and leaders within the energy industry have expressed concerns with some of Biden’s executive orders that take aim to move away from oil and gas and rely more on clean energy in an effort to reduce climate change in the U.S.
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, argued on Thursday that President Biden’s order to halt new drilling on federal lands would kill 58,700 jobs in eight states in the West, “where over 97% of the federal production is found,” she said.
On Wednesday, Western Energy Alliance, which represents 200 oil and natural gas companies, filed a lawsuit challenging Biden’s executive order banning oil and natural gas leasing on federal public lands, according to a news release.
The release cited the complaint, which “challenges Biden’s order as exceeding presidential authority and constituting a violation of the Mineral Leasing Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act.”
The administration argues that in its efforts to move away from oil and gas, it will create millions of new clean-energy jobs.
The president’s clean energy infrastructure plan, with its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, aims to “create millions of good-paying jobs that provide workers with the choice to join a union and bargain collectively with their employers,” according to Biden’s website.
The plan targets the creation of 1 million jobs within the auto industry; “millions” of jobs within the power sector; 1 million jobs in building construction; 250,000 jobs “plugging abandoned oil and natural gas wells” and more, it says.
Fox News’ Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.