The Gillette City Council and Campbell County Commissioners have echoed Gov. Mark Gordon's concerns over President Joe Biden's decision to order a permanent moratorium on new new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits on federal lands.
Biden's move Wednesday comes a week removed from an executive order signed hours after his inauguration that imposed a 60-day suspension on the leases and permits.
"Wyoming, and in particular Gillette and Campbell County, have always led the way in working together to find the best solutions," said Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King in a joint press release with the Campbell County Commission.
"Unilateral decisions, such as the proposed moratorium, goes against our very core values," she said. "Not only will this order threaten thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, but it also sets an adversarial tone from an administration that promised to work with both blue and red states. From the reaction of other western states, it is readily apparent that the President did not consult anyone beyond his circle of influence."
Biden's orders will have an immediate and devastating impact on Wyoming and on Campbell County, said Commission Chairman Bob Maul.
“Gillette, our county seat, is known as 'The Energy Capital of the Nation' for very good reason," he said. "However, our community has been significantly impacted by declining coal and oil production as a result of heavy-handed broad-sweeping regulations.
"President Biden’s actions will only further cripple economies in communities like Campbell County. His disregard for what our community and workforce contribute to our country is disgraceful."
Maul said the new administration needs to visit and plan with affected communities like Campbell County before making such drastic, radial moves.
"We strongly urge the president and his advisors to reach out to communities like Gillette and Campbell County to understand the realities of powering America," he said. "And, until that happens, he needs to reconsider pursuing policies that damage the fabric of our country."
Biden's moratorium also drew swift and strongly worded responses from Wyoming's Republican congressional delegation.
“On Inauguration Day, we heard President Biden rightly encourage the American people to strive towards unity. A week later, he is signing a divisive and illegal executive order that would damage Wyoming’s economy and the economies of other states like New Mexico, North Dakota and Louisiana,” said Sen. John Barrasso.
He also said the move "will do nothing to address climate change" and that "energy producers will simply go elsewhere — likely out of state or overseas."
Rep. Liz Cheney responded that "today's executive orders ... will endanger our economy in Wyoming and threaten our national security."
Saying the moratorium "will be real and painful" for workers in the Cowboy State, families across the United States can expect to see higher energy costs because of it.
"The individuals who can least afford it will bear the brunt of this decision," Cheney said. "Not only that, but this will diminish our ability to produce energy domestically and maintain energy independence, forcing us to rely on our adversaries, which undermines our national security interests."
Sen. Cynthia Lummis said she plans to do a bill to overturn the moratorium that would make it impossible for a president to restrict new federal leases and permits without congressional approval.
"For the president to attempt to use his authority as president to override provisions that are in federal law is inappropriate and certainly will be catastrophic," Lummis said during a Wednesday press call reported by The Hill.
She said the order "picks on eight states that are producing energy" to placate the "radical minority and elites on both coasts."
She said her legislation could be introduced in both the Senate and House as early as Thursday.