Cassidy, Kennedy push POWER Act to prevent Biden energy ban


FILE – In this July 24, 2020, file photo, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., delivers remarks to media after registering as a candidate to run as an incumbent in Baton Rouge, La. More than a dozen unions and citizens’ groups say unemployed workers will demonstrate at U.S. senators’ offices in nine Louisiana cities to demand continued $600 federal coronavirus unemployment benefits. Sens. Cassidy and John Kennedy are among Republicans supporting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to cut that benefit to $200 a week on top of state unemployment pay. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

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WASHINGTON — Just one day after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to pause oil and gas leases, the U.S. Senate is scrambling to block the ban.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), along with a quarter of his colleagues, including fellow Louisiana Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-LA) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has introduced the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act of 2021. 

To read the bill, click here.

“Federal lands and water don’t belong to President Biden; they belong to the people of the United States,” said Sen. Cassidy. “We should use these resources to power our country and keep Americans employed.

“This bill installs needed safeguards to ensure that no president can unilaterally pull the plug on American energy production and put thousands out of work the way this president is trying to do.”

Sen. Kennedy echoed Cassidy’s comments.

The POWER Act would prohibit the president or his secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Energy departments from blocking energy or mineral leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters without Congressional approval.  

“The Biden Ban on new oil and gas leasing will cost America tens of thousands of jobs, many of them in Louisiana. The energy industry is the lifeblood of our state, and we can’t afford to sacrifice jobs at a time when Louisianians are still recovering from the pandemic,” said Sen. Kennedy. 

“Since the energy industry funds Louisiana’s conservation efforts, our storm-battered coasts can’t afford the Biden Ban either. We must protect both our jobs and our coasts from Washington’s overreach, and that’s just what the POWER Act will do.”

A U.S. House of Representatives companion version of the bill is being sponsored by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM-02), and co-sponsored by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman, among others. 

“As America continues to recover from a global pandemic, our energy industry desperately needs the Biden administration’s support, not its scorn,” said Sen. Cruz. “We must work to prevent any administration from crippling our energy industry without approval from Congress.

“I am proud to support this legislation that will fight back against the Biden administration’s radical environmental agenda and help our energy industry thrive by supporting hundreds of thousands of blue-collar jobs, keeping household energy costs low for American families, and maintaining our energy independence.”

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