WASHINGTON, D.C. After urging the incoming administration to halt oil and gas leasing during the transition, government watchdog Accountable.US is praising President Joe Biden for his action today to do exactly that — pause new oil and gas lease sales on federal lands.

“Today’s action by President Biden marks a stark and much-needed departure from the Trump administration’s practice of destroying environmental protections in order to benefit the oil and gas industry companies and lobbyists,” said Chris Saeger, spokesman for Accountable.US. “President Biden is showing he intends to prioritize public land and the environment, not industry demands as they seek to pad their bottom lines.” 

As part of its Damage Control project, Accountable.US has been highlighting the actions taken by the Trump administration to benefit industry, their lobbyists and those that filled his campaign coffers. Earlier this month, Accountable.US called on Biden to take the following actions:

  • Halt any lease sales or oil production in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Trump administration fought to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling, and a lease sale took place last week. Oil development in Alaska’s ANWR could have serious implications for Alaska’s climate and could disturb Alaska’s caribou herds, which the Gwich’in people rely on for subsistence. 
  • Withdraw the Trump administration’s failed “guidance” on the treatment of greenhouse gasses. In June 2019, the White House Council on Environmental Quality published draft guidance on the treatment of greenhouse gases — guidance that did not address climatechange and its impact, provided little clarity to federal agencies on how to weigh emissions and climate impacts in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews, and appeared to encourage agencies to avoid those considerations entirely. The Biden administration should withdraw the 2019 guidance and replace it. 
  • Direct EPA to introduce new rules amending the New Source Performance Standards, reintroducing previous compliance requirements that were rescinded in the Trump EPA’s rules “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review” and “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Reconsideration.”
  • Overturn Trump’s executive orders that reduced the acreage of two National Monuments in southern Utah, enacting the largest reductions of public lands protections in American History, and abandon any litigation to keep the reductions in place.
  • Throw out new Resource Management Plans for the reduced monuments in Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments, which prioritized energy development and would open the over 1,000 square miles cut from both monuments to new oil and gas drilling and coal mining, and wait to develop new ones until the original boundaries of both monuments have been restored.

Accountable.US has released full documentation for the corrupt origins of these harmful policies on its Damage Control site, which catalogs solutions to harmful Trump policies the Biden administration should pursue to make the government work for all Americans again.


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