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Biden suspends new oil and gas leases, permits for 60 days

Last Updated Jan 21, 2021 at 1:01 pm MST

BILLINGS, Mont. — The Biden administration has suspended new oil and gas leasing and drilling by the U.S. government for 60 days as part a review of programs at the Department of Interior.

The move follows President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change.

The suspension went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega. It drew a quick backlash from the oil industry.

The order also blocks approval of new mining plans, land sales or exchanges and the hiring of senior-level staff at the agency.

Matthew Brown, The Associated Press