Well, he did tell the world that he would do this.
President Biden followed through on a campaign promise with a new batch of executive actions aimed at combating climate change that will pause new oil and gas leases on federal land and strengthen measures to protect poor and minority neighborhoods from pollution.
While climate activists will cheer, energy sector workers are likely to be less enthusiastic as the changes will mean fewer jobs.
In the orders, Biden will call for a pause on new federal oil and gas leases and direct the Interior Department to review the program’s climate impacts and taxpayer benefits. He will also set a goal to conserve 30% of federal land and waters to protect wildlife, the sources said.
The orders will impact large swathes of acreage onshore in mostly Western states, as well as offshore drilling acreage located mainly in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Word of the measure has drawn criticism from some states that depend on drilling revenue and the oil industry, which has warned the move will cost jobs and economic growth.
Biden will also assemble a national climate change task force, to be led by White House domestic climate policy advisor Gina McCarthy. It will enlist federal agencies to devise climate change strategies.
He will also form an interagency council aimed at addressing environmental justice, placing an official to oversee the issue within each federal agency, and direct 40% of benefits from clean energy investments to low-income and minority communities, the sources said.
Biden is also expected to create a special environmental justice enforcement unit at the Justice Department, they said.
The orders aim to make good on several of Biden’s campaign promises to tackle climate change while also addressing racial and economic inequality.