Biden halts federal land leasing for oil and gas drilling

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ODESSA, Texas (Big 2 / FOX 24) – President Joe Biden signed an executive order today that puts a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

This order does not affect private lands. In Texas, 95% of the land is owned privately, virtually making the new order ineffective in the Lone Star State.

However in New Mexico, millions of acres of land are leased each year for oil and gas drilling. Large portions of the Permian Basin stretch into the Land of Enchantment, specifically Eddy County.

The U.S. Department of the Interior released a fact sheet ahead of the signing, saying that “the targeted pause does not impact existing operations or permits for valid, existing leases, which are continuing to be reviewed and approved.”

The statement continues to say that millions of jobs will be created in “clean energy generation, land restoration, abandoned mine cleanup, plugging of orphan oil and gas wells, energy efficiency, clean transportation, advanced manufacturing, and sustainable agriculture”.

Lawmakers are fighting back against this order. Rep. August Pfluger introduced legislation earlier this month, attempting to block the moratorium. It has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. He released a statement today saying “This gross executive overreach threatens national security by returning our country to its heavy dependency on unstable foreign oil, will increase daily costs for all Americans, and completely obliterate millions of jobs. Energy security is national security, and this is the absolute wrong move.”

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