Biden pledge to end drilling on public land receives backlash: ‘I don’t think President Biden knows the details of fracking’

During President-elect Joe Biden’s election campaign, he pledged to ban new gas and oil permits — including fracking — on federal lands.

Biden has listed climate change as one of his top priorities, repeatedly saying climate change is the “existential crisis” of our time.

Biden’s proposed bans could have serious implications for the oil and gas industry in states like Wyoming, Pennsylvania and New Mexico — where federal oil and gas development is prominent.

Experts say it will be difficult to completely ban fossil leasing, permitting and fracking on federal land. Oil and gas economies are likely to fight any attempt by the Biden administration to end production on public land.

Gale Norton, George W. Bush’s Interior secretary from 2001 to 2006, said the political will to implement these priorities will have to be strong enough to fend off entrenched opposition from states and industries affected by a threat to revenue, E&E News reported last month.

The Biden administration will have to overcome legal and political hurdles to go through with banning new oil and gas permits on federal land, given existing laws and the large amounts of money that drilling royalties generate for the federal and state governments.

Environmental activists are adamant that they will hold the Biden administration accountable to follow through with their promises to tackle the “existential crisis” of climate change.

Tom Sansonetti, former Interior solicitor during the George H.W. Bush administration, said the likelihood of the proposals will depend on who Biden places in positions at Interior.

“I don’t think President Biden knows the details of fracking,” Sansonetti said. “I doubt that he’s ever been on an oil rig. The people in the White House that really have strong feelings about this, they will be the ones that end up shoving that particular policy down the pipeline.”

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