Hours after taking office, President Joe Biden promised a campaign to cancel the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Later that day, his Department of the Interior ordered that only top agency leaders be able to approve new drilling permits for the next two months.
Next week, according to people familiar with the plans, Biden will go further: suspending the sale of oil and gas leases on federal land, where the United States receives 10% of its supplies.
The actions put oil producers’ stocks at risk and raised blood pressure across the industry.
“In the first couple of days of the new administration, they are taking actions that will harm the economy and cost Americans their jobs,” said Frank Macchiarola, a senior vice president of policy for the American Petroleum Institute. “We’re concerned, and everyone in the country should be concerned.”
The Home Department order, signed late Wednesday night, changed the procedure for 60 days when the agency’s new leadership took effect, requiring top brass to make decisions on place oil leases and licenses, as well as recruitment, mining operations and environmental review.
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