World – Economy
“I don’t think it’s a permanent ban,” Haaland told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday. “I understand President Biden has only temporarily suspended new leases, has not banned new leases; has not stopped new leases, it’s a pause to review the fossil fuel program.” .
Haaland’s comments came in response to concerns about possible tens of thousands of job losses, particularly in energy-rich western states, raised by the committee’s top Republican Senator John Barrasso.
The candidate faces opposition from lawmakers in energy-producing states due to past condemnations of all oil and gas exploration on public lands, as well as her opposition to fracking operations related to shale oil extraction, which helps increase well production and make America a net exporter of fossil fuels.
Haaland sought to address these concerns in her opening statement, in which she pledged to work collaboratively with all stakeholders and both parties in Congress “to strike the right balance in the future.”
President Joe Biden has embarked on an effort to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels. His first acts as president included halting construction of a major pipeline project and blocking new oil and gas leases on federal government-owned land.
Despite the lease ban, Haaland noted that thousands of leases and thousands of permits will continue as they are, and that new technology to cut greenhouse gases from fossil fuels is key to the Biden administration’s goal of moving to a carbon-free economy by 2050.