Despite pledging to stop permitting oil and gas drilling on federal lands, President Joe Biden’s administration is approving permits at a faster rate than President Donald Trump did during most of his presidency, a new report reveals.
According to data provided by the Bureau of Land Management, (BLM), analyzed by Public CitizenSince Biden’s election, the agency has approved approximately 333 drilling permits per monthly in 2021. This is a higher rate than was approved under Trump in 2017, 2018 and 2019, though it is 25 percent lower than 2020’s average.
Permitting rates hit a high this spring and summer, when the administration was on track to beat Trump’s 2020 record of approving 452 projects per month. In July The Associated PressIt was reported that the Biden administration was on the verge of approving drilling at the fastest rate ever since President George W. Bush took office.
Climate advocates have voiced their dissatisfaction with the Biden administration’s response to the report. “The president has basically only tried to tackle one side of the climate problem,” Jamie Henn, co-founder of 350.org and director of Fossil Free Media, told The Washington Post. “He’s talked a lot about building clean energy, but he hasn’t done anything to stop fossil fuels. And you need to tackle both sides if we’re going to address this crisis.”
Biden has made some impressive moves regarding oil drilling. like revokingThe permit for Keystone XL. This is the most infamous pipeline project among environmentalists. But that same month, Biden approved Enbridge Energy’s Line 3, a slightly less well-known pipeline project that Indigenous and climate advocates have been fighting for seven years to stop — often They put their bodies on the linesThroughout the process.
In November, Interior Department recommended raising the feesOil and gas companies must pay federal taxes when drilling on federal lands. This change was rejected as trivial by climate and environmental activists, who noted that the fees would likely do little to prevent companies from seeking new drilling projects — especially considering the trillions of dollars in subsidiesEach year, the government provides fossil fuel industries with funding.
To stop the climate crisis from arising, it is crucial to revoke permits for drilling projects. The following year, the International Energy Agency is often conservativeA report stated that governments must not allow new fossil fuel extraction projects if the international powers are to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius or lower. Climate advocates have also said that new drilling projects should stop immediately, adding that fossil fuels that have already been extracted shouldn’t be burned either.
The amount of drilling permits granted by BLM under Biden shows that the president isn’t serious about tackling the climate crisis, advocates have said. “At precisely the moment when we must be forcefully rejecting new drilling, fracking and pipeline infrastructure, Biden isn’t just tolerating fossil fuels – he’s uplifting them,” Wenonah Hauter wrote for The Guardian.
The administration’s fossil fuel regulators have shown little interest in taking the recommendations of climate advocates seriously. Earlier in the year, A landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reportYou should be warned extremely dire consequences for the climate if action isn’t taken soon. But Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management wrote that the report “does not present sufficient cause” for the agency to reconsider its drilling permit practices.