"Climate pledge to halt federal drilling permits faces legal and political obstacles"
"One of Joe Biden’s boldest campaign pledges was to ban “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters,” part of a sweeping agenda aimed at curbing greenhouse gases that are warming the planet and threatening life on Earth.
Transforming that promise into reality, however, will be tough.
The incoming administration will face several legal and political hurdles if it seeks to halt new oil and gas permits on federal land and waters, given existing laws and the enormous sums that drilling royalties generate for the federal and state governments — including Democratic-leaning states such as New Mexico and Colorado. But failure to do so is sure to become a flash point with environmental and youth activists within the Democratic Party, who helped elect him and have made climate a priority.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration, in a bid to help its allies in the oil and gas business before it leaves office, has embarked on an 11th-hour leasing spree to help those companies lock in rights to drill. It offered up 79 million acres of leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, selling nearly 518,000 acres. And it is rushing to auction off rights to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Jan. 20, Inauguration Day."
Juliet Eilperin and Dino Grandoni report for the Washington Post November 19, 2020.