Despite the fact that President Joe Biden campaigned last year on ending new drilling on federal lands, approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on public lands could reach their highest levels since George W. Bush was president, according to The Associated Press (AP).
In the first half of 2021, the Interior Department approved about 2,500 permits to drill on public and tribal lands, according to an AP analysis of government data. More than 2,100 of those approvals took place when Biden took office Jan. 20, The AP reported.
Oil and gas drilling approvals for public lands take off despite President Biden’s pledge to rein in fossil fuels. https://t.co/1YdZIqhRz4
— AP Health & Science (@APHealthScience) July 12, 2021
New Mexico and Wyoming had the most approvals, followed by Montana, Colorado and Utah, according to The AP. (RELATED: In The Face Of Rising Gas Prices, Biden Threatens To Make It More Expensive For Energy Companies To Do Business)
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland adamantly opposed drilling on federal lands while serving in Congress and also co-sponsored the Green New Deal, according to The AP.
A judge blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to suspend new oil and gas leases on federal lands last month, The AP reported. Limiting petroleum production could make gasoline prices rise even higher and risk economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The AP.