"Reversing Trump, Interior Department Moves Swiftly on Climate Change"

"WASHINGTON — As the Interior Department awaits its new secretary, the agency is already moving to lock in key parts of President Biden’s environmental agenda, particularly on oil and gas restrictions, laying the groundwork to fulfill some of the administration’s most consequential climate change promises.

Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Mr. Biden’s nominee to lead the department, faces a showdown vote in the Senate likely later this month, amid vocal Republican concern for her past positions against oil and gas drilling. But even without her, an agency that spent much of the past four years opening vast swaths of land to commercial exploitation has pulled an abrupt about-face.

The department has suspended lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico under an early executive order imposing a temporary freeze on new drilling leases on all public lands and waters and requiring a review of the leasing program. It has frozen drilling activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, delayed Trump-era rollbacks on protections of migratory birds and the northern spotted owl, and taken the first steps in restoring two national monuments in Utah and one off the Atlantic coast that Mr. Trump largely dismantled."

Lisa Friedman reports for the New York Times March 2, 2021.

Source: NYTimes, 03/03/2021