Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies to “identify” ways to combat “federal overreach” by President Joe Biden’s administration in the energy sector on Thursday.
Abbott issued a state executive order specifically targeting the White House’s approach to energy development and production, which Abbott said showed “extreme hostility toward the energy sector, and thus toward Texas.”
Abbott’s order directs “every state agency to use all lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the continued strength, vitality and independence of the energy industry. Each state agency should work to identify potential litigation, notice-and-comment opportunities, and any other means of preventing federal overreach within the law.”
Biden made a flurry of executive actions during his first days in office targeting energy development on federal land and a major pipeline project meant to carry crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries.
Biden indefinitely suspended issuing any new gas leases on federal land so the Department of the Interior can study the impact of oil drilling on climate change. The president also barred oil companies from drilling in an oil preserve known as the 1002 Area of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On his first day in office, Biden revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to cross from Canada into the United States, effectively shutting down a years-long project angering top Canadian lawmakers.
Texas has already filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over an order suspending deportations of illegal immigrants for 100 days. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused Biden of violating a contract the state struck with the Department of Homeland Security under former President Donald Trump that the federal government would consult with the state before changing immigration law.
U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton blocked the order on Tuesday.
As The Daily Wire reports:
Judge Tipton stated that Texas had “a substantial likelihood of success” arguing that the deportation freeze violated a federal immigration law and that the Biden administration “arbitrarily and capriciously departed from its previous policy without sufficient explanation” when it issued the memo.
Tipton added that the Biden administration failed to “provide any concrete, reasonable justification” for the moratorium. He wrote that the memorandum “not only fails to consider potential policies more limited in scope and time, but it also fails to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations,” as CNBC noted.
Tipton stated, “DHS, however, never explains how the pause in removals helps accomplish these goals. It remains unknown why a 100-day pause is needed given the allegedly ‘unique circumstances’ to which the January 20 Memorandum alludes.” He also asserted that the pause could cause “imminent and irreparable harm” to Texas.
Paxton reacted to the judge’s decision by saying, “The Court’s decision to stop the Biden Administration from casting aside congressionally enacted immigration laws is a much-needed remedy for DHS’s unlawful action. A near-complete suspension of deportations would only serve to endanger Texans and undermine federal law,” CNN reported, adding, “The Biden moratorium covers most deportations but excludes individuals who came to the U.S. after November 1, are suspected of terrorism or espionage or pose a danger to national security, have waived rights to remain in the U.S. or who’ve been determined removable by the acting director, according to an agency memo.”