Biden to announce moratorium on new oil, gas leases on federal land
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President Biden will announce a wide-ranging moratorium Wednesday on new oil and gas leases on federal land — despite news that his last “climate action” will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.
News of the proposed moratorium, which will be signed alongside a group of other climate-related actions, follows Biden’s day one decision to yank the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The pipeline, which would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canada to the US and led to the creation of thousands of American jobs, has already seen hundreds of jobs cut as a result of Biden’s order last week.
Then-President Donald Trump granted the permit in 2017, reversing former President Barack Obama’s decision to block construction of the American portion of Keystone XL two years earlier.
The project, as well as the broader issue of fracking, led Biden to walk a very fine line on the topic of domestic energy during the campaign.
During the final Democratic primary debate in March of last year, Biden pledged while sparring with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that he wanted “no new fracking.”
But his campaign later walked that back, saying in a statement that he was only re-stating his pledge to ban the practice on public lands.
At the July 2019 Democratic primary debate, Biden said “we would make sure it is eliminated” after being asked about the future of fracking and coal.
At his final debate with then-President Trump in October, however, Biden took a different stance, claiming that he had “never said I opposed fracking.”
The then-Democratic presidential candidate did, however, make a larger declaration during that debate which caught the energy industry by surprise.
“I would transition away from the oil industry, yes. The oil industry pollutes, significantly,” Biden said, “It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time.”
At the time, then-Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted that Biden, “will not ban fracking. That is a fact.”
Biden has signed a record 37 executive actions in his first week in office, and the exact number of executive orders is not known because the Federal Register has not been updated since Jan. 21.
A Biden White House spokesperson could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment.
With Post wires
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