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Westerman Criticizes DOI’s Guidance on Energy Leases

March 16, 2021

Last night, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced it will allow the 60-day suspension on processing oil and gas drilling permits to expire on March 21, 2021. House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Biden administration has no comprehensive plan in place for dealing with energy and environmental issues. First they create a bottleneck on existing energy leases, then they prohibit all new leases indefinitely, and now they’re back to allowing existing leases to proceed. This back-and-forth has cloaked the entire industry in confusion, and no one knows what this administration will do next. Unfortunately, America is the one bearing the brunt of the president’s knee-jerk policies. People have lost their jobs, there is no transparency, and we still don’t have any details on the green energy plan President Biden keeps referencing. If this administration is actually serious about improving the environment, it’s time they match their words with their actions.”


During President Joe Biden’s first day in office, his administration issued Secretarial Order No. 3395, a 60-day suspension preventing DOI agencies and bureaus from processing oil and gas drilling permits on federal land.

Later that week, President Biden signed Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which implemented an indefinite “pause on new oil and natural gas leases on public lands.”

The 60-day suspension will expire March 21, and DOI will not be extending it. This will allow any existing leases to go through regular order; however, the moratorium on any new leases still stands.

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