US drilling approvals increase despite Biden climate pledge

Politics

FILE – In this April 24, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M. The Biden administration has approved thousands of drilling permits since taking office despite a campaign pledge to end fracking on federal land. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. public lands are on pace this year to reach their highest level since George W. Bush was president.

That finding from an Associated Press analysis of government drilling data underscores President Joe Biden’s reluctance in the face of industry and Republican resistance to more forcefully curb climate-changing emissions from fossil fuels.

The Interior Department approved about 2,500 permits to drill on public and tribal lands in the first six months of the year. That includes more than 2,100 approvals since Biden took office January 20. New Mexico and Wyoming had the largest number of approvals.

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