Biden sets out oil, gas leasing reform, stops short of ban – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday recommended an overhaul of the nation’s oil and gas leasing program to focus on areas that are most suitable for energy development and raise costs for energy companies to drill on public lands and water.

The long-awaited report by the Interior Department stops short of recommending an end to oil and gas leasing on public lands, as many environmental groups have urged. But officials said the report would move toward a more responsible leasing process that provides a better to return to U.S. taxpayers for oil and gas drilling on the nation’s vast public lands and waters.

“Our nation faces a profound climate crisis that is impacting every American,″ Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement, adding that the new report’s recommendations will provide a fair return to taxpayers and mitigate worsening climate impacts “while staying steadfast in the pursuit of environmental justice.″

The report completes a review ordered in January by President Joe Biden, who directed a pause in federal oil and gas lease sales in his first days in office, citing worries about climate change.

The moratorium drew sharp criticism from congressional Republicans and the oil industry, even as many environmentalists and Democrats said Biden should make the leasing pause permanent.

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