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NEW ORLEANS — As the moratorium on offshore oil and gas leases lingers, Governor John Bel Edwards is calling on President Biden to lift the ban by summer.

Governor Edwards wants the Biden administration to know a prolonged drilling halt would be devastating to Louisiana’s economy.

Edwards testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resourses. He’s calling on Biden to take a balanced approach to climate change and oil and gas exploration.

On Capitol Hill, Edwards joined forces with republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy. Both are concerned about the President’s pause on oil and gas leases.

“Federal oil and gas production must continue in the Gulf and well into the future,” Edwards said.

Cassidy said, “Solutions are needed which move us in the right direction.”

In February, President Biden signed an executive order stopping new permits on federal lands and federal waters. He wants to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Governor Edwards said, “We are committed to addressing climate change responsibly and to an orderly energy transition. Environmentally responsible oil and gas production must be allowed to continue on the outer continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.”

According to Edwards, revenue from offshore drilling helps fund climate change goals.

“The goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is an ambitious goal, but it is what the global scientific community says is necessary if we want to avoid the most severe impacts from climate change,” said Edwards.

Senator Cassidy said, “The current posture of the Biden administration threatens our longterm ability to fund these projects while putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.”

Edwards and Cassidy want Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states to get their fair share of federal money for coastal protection. The Louisiana leaders highlighted the Gulf Coast states receive in impact assistance only about 4% of the federal oil and gas revenue generated in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cassidy said, “The revenue that we receive from this energy production off our shore is so critical to this effort.”

As for when the President could lift the lease ban, it’s unclear.