Biden Administration temporarily suspends gas leasing
The Biden administration has immediately halted the leasing and permitting of oil and gas on federal lands and waters while reviewing the program's legal and policy consequences.
The move appears to be a first step in delivering on the newly sworn-in campaign promise by President Joe Biden to ban all new federal fracking licenses, part of his larger climate change fighting agenda.
Environmentalists welcomed the order and mocked the oil and gas industry, whose biggest onshore exploration firms have stockpiled licenses in anticipation of a federal policy shift.
Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, had worked to increase oil, gas and coal production on federal property and routinely reduce global warming risks.
Biden's Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega suspended the authority of department offices to grant fossil fuel authorizations in the order, dated January 20 and seen by Reuters Thursday, revising land management plans.
Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Director of the Center for Western Priorities Strategy, said in an email that "the Biden administration is rightfully attempting to take stock of the damage and make sure the agency is following the law."
The American Petroleum Institute and the Western Energy Alliance's oil and gas industry trade associations immediately released statements opposing the pause.
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