Pause on Federal Drilling Could Hamper Economic Recovery, Create Foreign Dependence

By Maddy McCarty, Digital Editor

President Joe Biden’s administration imposed a 60-day pause on oil and gas permits on federal land in what industry leaders are calling a fracking ban.

"Even just for 60 days, it's a really aggressive move,” Reuters reported Anne Bradbury, chief executive of the drilling trade group American Exploration & Production Council, said in an interview.

The order is one of several to come in the first days of Biden’s presidency aimed at reducing climate change and weaking the country’s fossil fuel industry. Others include revoking a necessary permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, an $8 billion project that would carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska, and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.

The 60-day pause means Interior Department agencies and bureaus cannot issue drilling leases or permits, but does not limit existing operations, according to a Department of Interior memo. Federal leases account for almost 25% of America’s crude oil output, making them a big contributor to energy supply and greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reported. 

The Consumer Energy Alliance said the temporary oil leasing halt is bad for America’s consumers and economic recovery.

“Federal lands and waters account for 12% of U.S. natural gas production and nearly a quarter of U.S. oil production, which make them critical to America’s ability to serve the growing energy needs of its families and small businesses,” Consumer Energy Alliance President David Holt said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this decision will harm American laborers, workers, families, and small businesses who depend on reliable, affordable energy. There are ample ways to accomplish the Administration’s emission reduction goals that do not include overly restrictive impacts on our daily energy needs.”

It is important to meet environmental goals and energy requirements simultaneously, he said.

The order appeared to be a first step in delivering on newly sworn-in Biden's campaign pledge to permanently ban new drilling on federal acreage, Reuters reported, noting predecessor Donald Trump sought to maximize production of oil, gas and coal on federal lands.

“Restricting development on federal lands and waters is nothing more than an ‘import more oil’ policy,” American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Mike Sommers said. “With this move, the administration is leading us toward more reliance on foreign energy from countries with lower environmental standards and risks to hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in government revenue for education and conservation programs.”

API said it is ready to engage with the Biden administration on ways to address America’s energy challenges, but notes impeding American energy will hurt local communities and America’s economic recovery.  

Related News


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}