Controversy on oil and gas leasing

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Governor Spencer Cox writes a letter to President Biden proposing to withdraw an executive order that would ban any new leasing for oil and gas on federal public lands. 

Newsline reporter Amy Griffin said that Cox co-wrote the letter to the president along with 16 other GOP governors. The letter emphasizes protecting American jobs in the energy sector. 

Cox and other Republican governors believe that Biden’s order hurts the environment because it shifts energy development to countries with less stringent emission regulations. For Cox, there may be more than just environmental concerns at play. 

It’s important to keep track of which funds have been donated to political figures. According to Griffin, in the last month, Cox’s re-election campaign has gained about $35,000 that can be traced back to oil.

“That’s where the money is, there’s money in oil,” Elizabeth Coleman, an environmental sustainability specialist, said. 

This funding is especially concerning for environmental activists, who say Biden’s order is a step in the right direction and want him to leave it in place.

“I think it is a huge step into figuring out how we as Americans can come together to regulate our own energy from a sustainable source,” Coleman said. 

Putting aside Cox’s motives, some hope for a better compromise between environmental concerns and the economy.

“There are certain federal lands, of course, we don’t want to produce and drill in. We need to work more towards a common energy policy that has both sides represented instead of just banning all activity on all federal land,” Matthew Miller, VP of Engineering at Vfuels, said. 

Cox’s office did not return a request for comment on the campaign funding. 

The White House has yet to issue a response to the governor’s letter, but the governor hopes it brings a constructive dialogue.

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