Last week the Center for Biological Diversity chided the Biden administration for approving more than 3,500 oil and gas drilling permits during his first year in office—after promising to tackle the climate crisis, thereby blowing away Donald “Energy Dominance” Trump’s first year permit count.
The scolding was warranted. After all, Biden could have paused drilling permitting at the beginning of his term just as easily as he paused oil and gas leasing. That at least would have bought the administration time to enact strong methane emissions rules and other environmental protections that would apply to future drilling if the courts were to strike such a pause down. And even without a moratorium, the Bureau of Land Management has the power to slow permitting. Instead, it seems to have expedited it, handing out nearly 2,000 permits in New Mexico, alone.