President Biden’s acting secretary of the Department of Interior banned all new permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands for 60 days, a move first proposed by one-time presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. Scott de la Vega released the order that also temporarily halts any transfers of federal land to states and prohibits hiring or promoting Interior employees above a certain level on Thursday. Biden has said tackling climate change is one of his new administration’s biggest priorities. One of his first acts as president on Wednesday was to sign executive orders rejoining the Paris climate accord and blocking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
If any parts of de la Vega’s order are meant to last more than 60 days, they will have to be approved by Biden’s pick to lead the agency—Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland—once she takes office. If confirmed, Haaland would be the first Native American person to head the Department of Interior, which oversees tribal lands.