US drilling approvals increase despite Biden’s climate pledge

National Politics

FILE – In this Feb. 26, 2021, file photo, an oil well is seen east of Casper, Wyo. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, 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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