Biden Bars New Fossil Fuel Leasing on Federal Land

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Biden Bars New Fossil Fuel Leasing on Federal Land

There will be no new leasing of federal land for coal, oil, and natural gas -- at least for now. This week President Joe Biden will sign a moratorium on such leasing that will be in place for much of his term in office.


Fulfilling a campaign promise, Biden's order would place a halt on new leases for fossil fuel development on lands controlled by the federal government. This would include new offshore drilling leasing, too. Existing leases would remain intact. The federal government owns considerable property, especially in western states, and much of that is open for mining and energy development. Offshore oil and natural gas exploration is also permitted in some federally-controlled areas of the Gulf of Mexico and around Alaska.


The president and environmentalists consider such leases as giveaways to large corporations. They also say that this leasing helps perpetuate the use of energy sources that pollute the environment. Supporters of the leases argue that it is better to develop U.S. resources than rely on foreign nations for America's energy needs. They also point out that energy production on federal lands supports good-paying jobs in areas that have few other economic options.


This executive order is part of a larger Biden agenda that envisions the U.S. moving from the use of fossil fuels to the use of renewable forms of energy. Much of this plan must be enacted by Congress, but the president can take some steps via executive order. This order is not a permanent end to federal fossil fuel leases, which would require a change in U.S. law, but a temporary moratorium. A new president could reverse this action.


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