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Biden Is Opening Up Public Lands to More Oil and Gas Leasing – Mother Jones
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Biden Is Opening Up Public Lands to More Oil and Gas Leasing – Mother Jones

Biden Is Opening Up Public Lands to More Oil and Gas Leasing – Mother Jones


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Last year, President Joe Biden made waves when he An announcement of a moratoriumBiden has fulfilled a promise he made during his 2020 campaign by signing new oil and gas leases for federal lands. To environmentalists’ despair, Biden is now reversing course: On Monday, the Interior Department will issue sales notices for Leases for drillingOn 144,000 acres of land public. 

However, these leases will come with a price. The amount that fossil fuel companies will have to pay the government is the first time it has happened in over a century. Will increaseThis has been reflected in the increase in royalties from 12.5 percent up to 18.75 percent.

The Biden administration is stuck in a bind when it comes to drilling. As the war in Ukraine raises gas prices, the president is facing political pressure to ease Americans’ pain at the pump. At the same time, fossil fuel emissions are dangerously heating the earth, and new leases will hinder Biden’s goal to cut emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2030.

The Interior Department is quick in pointing out that the land being used for drilling is not sufficient. 80 percent lessIt was more than the industry wanted. However, environmental groups argue that drilling on public land is too dangerous. As Tom Philpott, my colleague wrote last month, Big Oil has used the war in Ukraine as an excuse to encourage more drilling here in the States—even though it’s unlikelyGas prices will drop in the short term due to new leases. And there’s a better way. “If building out new oil infrastructure will take years,” he writes, “why not instead use the crisis as a spur to build out green energy in the United States and Europe?”

The Biden administration had previously tried to auction off new offshore drilling leases, saying it was forced to do so by a recent court decision (though another judge The move was stoppedearlier this year). But the upcoming sales will mark the first time Biden’s Interior Department issues new OnshoreDrilling leases “It’s important that they’re raising royalty rates,” Earthjustice president Abigail Dillen told the Washington Post. “But ultimately, oil and gas leasing at any significant scale is incompatible with the Paris agreement.”


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