SALT LAKE CITY (Feb. 22, 2021)  — The following joint letter signed by Gov. Spencer Cox and 16 other Republican governors was sent to President Biden opposing the oil and gas leasing ban.

Gov. Cox joined Gov. Mark Gordon, Wyoming; Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama; Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Alaska; Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona; Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas; Gov. Brad Little, Idaho; Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana; Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi;  Gov. Mike Parson, Missouri; Gov. Greg Gianforte, Montana; Gov. Pete Ricketts, Nebraska, Gov. Doug Burgum, North Dakota; Gov. Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma; Gov. Kristi Noem, South Dakota; Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee; and Gov. Greg Abbot, Texas in signing the letter.

“We implore you to withdraw Executive Order 14008 (“Order”), issued on January 27, 2021, which bans  new oil and gas development on federal land and in offshore waters. 

“There are many parts of our country where energy is more than a utility bill or tank of gas—it’s a job  creating industry that provides good careers and steady paychecks to families in rural areas and small towns.  Where the recent surge in oil and natural gas provided jobs and created wealth when we needed it most, the  Order will drastically hinder the ability of the oil and gas industry to recover, both onshore and offshore, as  the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic subside. In particular, the Order has a negative economic effect  upon western states with large tracts of federal land and upon Gulf Coast states, chasing away capital  investment for long-term economic growth and undermining public services, public conservation, public  safety, public education, and more. Beyond directly impacted states, the Order is estimated to spike  American residential energy costs by $1.7 billion per year. 

“Thanks to the hardworking men and women in the energy industry, the United States has become the  world’s leader in the production of oil and gas. For the first time in decades, America was exporting more  than we were importing, allowing us to rely less and less on foreign countries and adverse actors to supply  our citizens with the low-cost energy they need to heat and cool their homes and run their businesses. To  meet consumer demand and stabilize our electric grid, we depend on energy produced on private land and  public land—we need both. “Simply put, the Order jeopardizes our national security interests and strips  away the opportunity for Americans to be energy independent. 

“As governors, we believe that solutions come from innovation, not regulation, and we support an all of the  above energy approach, not picking and choosing winners and losers. Along with private sector ingenuity,  state frameworks and standards are the best solution to producing cleaner and more affordable energy that  curbs emissions, including during the development and production of fossil fuels. Instead, the Order inevitably shifts development away from U.S. federal lands and offshore waters to other countries with far  less stringent emission controls, exacerbating concerns over greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.  

“You began your presidency with calls for unity, specifically to end the divide that pits urban versus rural,  and as Republican leaders, we stand ready to work with your Administration to advance our states and  country. In contrast, the lack of consultation with our states demonstrated by Executive Order 14008 is alarming, showing disregard for the citizens we serve and the businesses that employ them and keep our  country running and our nation secure.  

“We encourage you to reverse course—pause the pause—and open a constructive dialogue with each of us  as you have promised the American people you would do. We look forward to receiving your response on  this important issue.”

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