• 125 State and Local Chambers Ask President Biden to Reverse Ban on New Energy Production on Federal Lands and Waters

Press Release
June 16, 2021

WASHINGTON D.C. – 125 state and local Chambers from 30 states around the nation today sent a strong message of opposition to President Biden’s indefinite ban on new energy production on federal lands and waters.

The Chambers sent a letter organized by the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute to the President today outlining the devastating impacts of the President’s federal leasing ban, which by 2025 could result in more than 154,000 jobs lost, a loss of more than $22 billion in GDP, and a loss of $4 billion in tax revenue.

“The President’s ban on new energy production on federal lands and waters hurts our economy and harms local communities while getting us no closer to achieving climate goals,” said Marty Durbin, President of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute. “The ban will shift oil and natural gas production overseas, including to nations with less stringent environmental standards. State and local chambers from around the nation representing businesses from Main Street, to the assembly line, are asking the President to reverse course, and we hope he hears this message loud and clear.”

“No state is harder hit from the President’s ban on energy production on federal lands than New Mexico,” said Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “More than half of the total oil and natural gas revenue that New Mexico receives is from production on federal lands, meaning that the ban jeopardizes over $730 million for public education and $340 million for health care and human services in the state. We urge President Biden to reconsider his policy and the harmful impacts it will have on New Mexicans.”

“The President’s ban on new energy production on federal lands is a direct threat to communities on the Western Slope like Grand Junction,” said Diane Schwenke, President and CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. “Over 36 percent of energy production in the state is on federal lands—nearly all in western Colorado. Halting all new production in this region will have widespread impacts throughout our economy.”

The Chambers noted their commitment to reducing emissions and to building effective partnerships between the business community and government to address the global climate challenge. They point out, however, that the federal lands energy ban artificially limits supply of oil and natural gas, which forces production elsewhere to meet demand, resulting in no environmental benefits. 

The federal government owns 680 million acres of land—about 28 percent of the total U.S. land mass. Federal lands available for energy production are separate from national parks, monuments and conservation areas. About 22 percent of all crude oil production and 12 percent of natural gas production comes from federal lands and waters. With over 1 billion barrels of crude oil produced in 2019, U.S. federal lands and waters alone would be the 8th largest oil producing nation in the world. 

On January 27, President Biden signed an Executive Order halting new leases on federal lands and waters. The order also promised a review of existing leasing and permitting practices, which raises the potential for disruption on those as well. Given the long lead time necessary to begin actual production on wells, the Administration’s action means that oil and natural gas production will be disrupted for years to come, and the longer that the ban remains in place, the larger the impacts will be to the entire nation. 

The state Chambers of Commerce that signed the letter include Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas. The full list of Chambers is available here.