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Oil companies lock in drilling, challenging Biden on climate

FILE - In this April 9, 2014, file photo, oil rigs stand in the Loco Hills field on U.S....
FILE - In this April 9, 2014, file photo, oil rigs stand in the Loco Hills field on U.S. Highway 82 in Eddy County near Artesia, N.M., one of the most active regions of the Permian Basin. In the closing months of the Trump administration energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for western public lands to keep pumping oil for years. That stands to undercut President-elect Joe Biden's plans to block new drilling on public lands to address climate change. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File)(Jeri Clausing | AP)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:24 AM CST
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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — In the closing months of the Trump administration, energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for western public lands to keep pumping oil for years.

That stands to undercut President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to block new drilling on public lands to address climate change.

An Associated Press analysis of government data shows the permit stockpiling has centered on oil-rich federal lands in New Mexico and Wyoming and accelerated in September and October as Biden was cementing his lead over President Donald Trump.

The industry was aided by speedier permitting approvals since Trump took office.

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