Biden administration hits pause on new oil and gas leases, but drilling permits are up
President Joe Biden’s administration announced a temporary halt to new oil and gas leases on federal lands shortly after taking office.
But conservationists are disappointed in how Biden’s policies have played out so far.
The administration halted new leases months ago and recently called for a temporary halt to leases in the Chaco Canyon area of New Mexico.
But conservationists say that oil and gas well permitting has actually increased under his watch. That means existing leases are being developed at a rapid pace.
"They have certainly been processing permits on a very rapid pace and actually on a pace that surpasses the last several years of the Trump administration," said Kyle Tisdel of the Western Environmental Law Center.
The president recently released a policy statement calling for increases in royalties charged for drilling.