Biden Expected To Freeze New Oil And Gas Leasing On Federal Land To Meet Climate Pledge
President Joe Biden is set to suspend all new oil and gas leases on federal land and water to deliver on his climate pledge.
The freeze, which is expected to be announced tomorrow, January 27, has been drafted but is still awaiting final review.
The order will not affect existing leases, The Washington Post reports, but is a step towards Biden’s aim to ‘transition away from the oil industry’.
The president is also expected to unveil additional plans related to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, including a pledge to protect 30% of all federal land and water by 2030.
One of his first moves when he took office on January 20 was to begin the process of rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, which was abandoned under Donald Trump’s administration.
‘A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear,’ Biden said in his inauguration speech last week.
During his presidential campaign, Biden put forward the ‘Clean Energy Revolution’, a plan that aims to ‘ensure the US achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions’ by 2050.
In a presidential debate with Trump, Biden said he would phase out oil, comments that were well received by the renewable energy industry. However, it raised concerns among oil and gas executives that the new president would further weigh down industries that have already been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
‘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,’ Kierán Suckling, executive director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Associated Press.
During Biden’s first days in office, he revoked the permit to construct the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. Now, oil industry groups are slamming the expected freeze, arguing that Biden has already eliminated thousands of jobs.
‘This is just the start. It will get worse,’ Brook Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, said.
‘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,’ Simmons added.
Meanwhile, the renewable energy industry has soared in recent months.
‘Clean energy stocks had already been outperforming for a long time, but it just hit a whole new level. It’s just crescendoed after the Democrats won the Senate,’ Steve Fleishman, a senior analyst at Wolfe Research told NBC News.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]