FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2021
Oil Change International response to Biden climate announcements on oil and gas leases, fossil fuel subsidies
Today, President Joe Biden is expected to sign executive orders advancing a broad range of actions to confront the climate crisis, including directing the Interior Department to enact a temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.
Biden is also expected to direct federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law, instruct all agencies to prioritize environmental justice, establish the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, and announce the date of a new international climate summit on April 22, among other actions.
In response, Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International released the following statement:
“Today’s move by President Biden to freeze leasing for oil and gas production on federal lands and waters is a critical first step to ending this program once and for all. We applaud this step and look forward to engaging our hundreds of thousands of supporters to demonstrate their support for this sort of real climate leadership to rein in the out-of-control fossil fuel industry defiling our public lands and wrecking the climate.
“Directing federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies where they are able to is a welcome shift from a Trump administration that spent four years doubling down to massive giveaways to oil, gas, and coal. Biden campaigned on eliminating fossil fuel giveaways, and voters agree by a huge margin. Taking the climate crisis seriously means prioritizing clean energy and investing in an equitable transition, not propping up an industry destroying the climate and abandoning its workers.
“President Biden is right to prioritize environmental justice and equity at all levels, emphasize a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to climate change, and invest meaningfully in supporting communities transitioning from dependence on oil, gas, and coal development. A comprehensive approach to our climate crisis must include aligning energy policy with climate imperatives by embarking on a managed phase-out of fossil fuel production with a just transition for workers and communities.
“Last week’s rescission of Keystone XL’s federal permit and today’s move towards a permanent end to fossil fuel leasing on public lands are crucial first steps in line with that goal. Stopping the Line 3 pipeline and shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline would prove President Biden is committed to building back fossil free and ending the fossil fuel era.
“Five years ago, hundreds of thousands called on then-President Obama to end fossil fuel leasing on public lands. It’s no small thing that President Biden is taking a substantial step towards this critical goal today, just one week into his term. This is a testament to Indigenous leaders standing up for their sacred lands, communities fighting the fossil fuel industry all across the country, and countless Americans who have raised their voices to say no to the fossil fuel industry. As we work to make this moratorium permanent, this chorus will only continue to grow.”
Notes to Editors
- Oil Change International has calculated that U.S. federal subsidies to fossil fuel production total nearly $15 billion per year, including many executive agency subsidies which should be phased out under the guidance in today’s executive order (see Appendix I, Table 1): https://priceofoil.org/dirty-energy-dominance
- On Monday, hundreds of groups representing millions of supporters reiterated their support to the Biden administration for an end to fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters: https://priceofoil.org/2021/01/25/fossil-fuel-leasing-petition-delivery/
- In December, over 500 groups called on Biden to move forward with strong action to prevent fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters, culminating in a ban: https://priceofoil.org/2020/12/15/500-groups-urge-biden-fossil-lease-ban/
- In December, hundreds of groups jointly launched the Build Back Fossil Free campaign, urging Bident to take strong executive action to protect and invest in communities, end the era of fossil fuel production, and prioritize strong labor standards and meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples, workers, and frontline communities: https://buildbackfossilfree.org/biden-executive-action-blueprint/