Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June

Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June
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New oil and gas leasing on public lands will be paused through at least the end of June, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. 

“The Bureau of Land Management is exercising its discretion to not hold lease sales in the second quarter,” said a statement from Nada Culver, the agency’s deputy director for policy and programs. 

In an executive order, President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE paused new oil and gas leasing on public lands and in public waters.


The pause does not have an end date, but is “pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practice.”

An interim report is expected to be completed this summer.

According to the bureau, the review will look into whether taxpayers receive a fair return, and how to make sure it will consider climate change and environmental justice, among other matters. 

Republicans and industry representatives have pushed back on Biden’s pause, arguing that companies should be able to acquire new parcels of land on which to drill. The administration, meanwhile, has pointed to statistics showing that a number of the existing leases aren’t being used for energy production. 

While he was on the campaign trail, Biden pledged to ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands, which is different from leasing. It is not clear whether his administration intends to do so.