President Biden is set to announce a wide-ranging moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on US lands, as his administration moves to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment, per the AP. The moratorium, expected to be announced on Wednesday, follows a 60-day suspension of new drilling permits for US lands and waters announced last week as well as Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands 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. 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,'' said Brook Simmons of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma. "Oil and natural gas prices are going up, and so will home heating bills, consumer prices, and fuel costs.'' Environmental groups, on the other hand, hailed the moratorium. “The administration’s review, if done correctly, will show that filthy fracking and drilling must end for good, everywhere,'' said Kierán Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity. Biden also is expected to direct officials to conserve 30% of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years, initiate a series of regulatory actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and issue a memorandum that elevates climate change to a national security priority. He also will direct all US agencies to use science- and evidence-based decision-making in federal rule-making.
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