This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving — a day the federal government notoriously reserves for dropping politically inexpedient information — activists were blindsided by a long-anticipated report from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The document was a review of the agency’s oil and gas leasing program, which manages fossil fuel extraction on federal public lands and waters.
Climate activists were hopeful that the Biden administration would recommend a wholesale ban on new federal oil and gas leasing. But while the report proposes a substantial overhaul of the leasing system, many environmentalists viewed it as weak on climate action. They believe that Interior’s recommendations signaled an unwillingness to take bold steps to address the urgency of the climate crisis.
“We’re sympathetic to the political gantlet the Biden administration must run,” said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, executive director of the Western Environmental Law Center, in a statement. “But it had a choice to run it with power, speed and agility. Instead, it... Read more