Deb Haaland revokes Donald Trump-era energy orders

The Biden administration has repealed Trump-era energy orders that promoted fossil fuel development and oil drilling. 

Earlier this week, Biden’s Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the revoking of a series of Trump-era energy policies that promoted the extraction of fossil fuels, and has launched a new directive prioritising climate change.

Previous policies had promoted the leasing of coal, oil, and gas on public lands and water, and intended to increase oil drilling in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

The measures have been described by Haaland as “inconsistent with the department’s commitment to conserve land, water, and wildlife″.

The announcement also revealed that the Biden administration would be cancelling Trump’s 2017 revoking of a moratorium (temporary suspension) on a federal coal reserves sales – but a spokesman clarified that this did not resurrect the coal moratorium, which is still under review.

Introduced by President Obama, the coal moratorium formed part of his effort to combat climate change and resulted in uproar by Republicans and oil lobbyists alike, who condemned it as a “war on coal” and said it would “threaten decades of American energy and climate progress”.

(Actually, the moratorium had relatively little effect- the interest in leasing federal land had already diminished after the collapse of the coal market over the last decade.)

The move away from fossil fuels, and towards green energy, has been hailed by environmental lobbyists and NGOs. Collin O’Mara, CEO of National Wildlife Federation said that the Cabinet of the Interior now had “unrivalled opportunities” to reduce carbon emissions and deploy clear energy.

Currently, more than 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions originate on public lands, and O’Mara claimed the policies encouraged “unfettered drilling in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas.”

Leading up to the global climate change summit, these new policies form part of the administration’s commitment to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

In his election campaign, Biden promised a ‘clean energy revolution and environmental justice’ and has used his first 100 days to jump-start his climate change agenda.

One of his first acts as president was to restore the US to the Paris Climate Accord after Trumps’ controversial departure in November 2020, and in March Biden launched an initiative to double the United States’ offshore wind production before 2030

After the ‘environmentally disastrous’ presidency of Donald Trump, climate activists around the world will welcome the news of the Biden administration’s intention to become a ‘global clean energy leader’.

The United States has been notoriously behind on initiatives such as clean energy, after the repeated delays in the development of offshore energy initiatives and over 80 measures to deregulate environmental policies.

Biden’s election promise to tackle climate change and build a ‘better, more resilient nation’ has already surpassed many expectations.

Nathaniel Keohane, Senior VP of the Environmental Defence Fund, said he’d give the president a ‘A+’ for his commitment to environmental sustainability.

Along with the fast-paced vaccine roll-out scheme that has seen over 40% of the population receiving at least one vaccine shot, all eyes are on Joe Biden to continue the impressive trajectory of his first 100 days.

 

This article was originally written by Georgie Morley. ‘I’m Georgie and I’m currently studying History at the University of Oxford. I am passionate about social change, particularly intersectional feminism and climate justice, and I enjoy engaging in these issues through volunteering, campaigning and writing.’ Visit her LinkedIn and view her Twitter.

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