As the Joe Biden administration moves quickly to reverse Donald Trump Administration policies on energy and the environment and address climate change, the President is set to announce a wide-ranging moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands.
Two people with knowledge of Biden’s plans outlined the proposed moratorium, which will be announced Wednesday. They asked not to be identified because the plan has not been made been public; some details remain in flux.
The move follows a 60-day suspension of new drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters announced last week and follows Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change. The moratorium is intended to allow time for officials to review the impact of oil and gas drilling on the environment and climate.
Environmental groups hailed the expected moratorium as the kind of bold, urgent action needed to slow climate change.
“The fossil fuel industry has inflicted tremendous damage on the planet. The administration’s review, if done correctly, will show that filthy fracking and drilling must end for good, everywhere,″ said Kierán Suckling, executive director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has pushed for the drilling pause.Advertisement
Oil industry groups slammed the move, saying Biden had already eliminated thousands of oil and gas jobs by killing the Keystone XL oil pipeline on his first day in office.
“This is just the start. It will get worse. Meanwhile, the laws of physics, chemistry and supply and demand remain in effect. Oil and natural gas prices are going up, and so will home heating bills, consumer prices and fuel costs,″ said Brook Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas drillers in Western states, said the expected executive order is intended to delay drilling on federal lands to the point where it is no longer viable.
“The environmental left is leading the agenda at the White House when it comes to energy and environment issues,″ she said, noting that the moratorium would be felt most acutely in Western states such as Utah, Wyoming and Alaska, where Biden lost to former President Donald Trump.