Oklahoma oil and gas

Oil pumps and hay bales in rural Oklahoma.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order Monday that seeks to protect Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry from what he calls a "Washington power grab."

President Joe Biden last month signed orders prohibiting new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Stitt's order criticizes the Biden administration’s "attack on energy producing states like Oklahoma, specifically citing the federal overreach and dismissal of Oklahoma’s constitutional ability to properly determine how to best develop its own natural resources," a news release from the governor's office says.

“Energy production is the backbone of Oklahoma’s economy,” Stitt said in a statement. “My executive order sends a clear message to the Biden Administration that threatening to destroy Oklahoma jobs and our constitutional ability to develop our oil and gas is unacceptable. We will not be passive in responding to systematic attacks on Oklahoma values.”

A number of state lawmakers also issued statements supporting Stitt's action.

“In Oklahoma, the oil and gas industry in particular provides hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and greatly adds to the local and state economy," Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, and vice-chair of the Senate Energy Committee, said. "President Biden’s actions threaten those jobs and our local and state economies. I appreciate Governor Stitt’s action to stand up for Oklahoma and I am proud to work with him to protect our energy industry.”

Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon and chair of the House States Rights Committee, said Biden's orders exceed his authority.

“The Tenth Amendment limits the scope of federal power and prescribes that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states," Steagall said. "It is well within the purview of each individual state to secure it’s citizens’ unalienable rights.”