Following through with President Biden’s campaign promise to halt oil and gas drilling on federal lands, on January 20, 2021, the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior (“Interior”) issued an order, effective immediately, mandating a 60-day moratorium on new oil and gas leases and drilling permits on public lands and waters (“Order”).
Specifically, the Order temporarily suspends all authority delegated to Interior’s agencies and bureaus, which include the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Land Management, to issue any “onshore and offshore fossil fuel authorization, including but not limited to a lease, amendment to a lease, affirmative extension of a lease, contract, or other agreement, or permit to drill.” The Order, however, does not limit oil and gas operations under valid leases, so previously approved activities and operations can continue.
The 60-day suspension is to allow the incoming Administration time to review and evaluate Interior’s programs, including its oil and gas programs.
The Order can be found at https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/elips/documents/so-3395-signed.pdf.
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