“You have to bring this back to DC and rebuild it,” said Joel Clement, a former Home Office climate policy expert who left the agency in protest of the Trump administration’s guidelines. “The staff, the budget – all of these people who were supposed to be working with Congress on these guidelines were evicted or left west,” he said. “You are enormously demoralized.”
Ms. Haaland is also expected to re-examine the Trump administration’s withdrawal of habitat protection under the Endangered Species Act. Under the Trump Rules, it became easier to remove a species from the endangered species list, and for the first time, regulators were allowed to conduct economic assessments – such as estimating the loss of revenue due to a ban on registration in a critical habitat – when they decided whether a species deserves protection.
Such rules resulted in a brain drain, particularly those in the fish and wildlife service, Clement said.
“There is rebuilding that has to take place there,” he said.
The Department of the Interior must also come up with a detailed new plan by June 2022 setting out how the federal government will manage the vast outer continental shelf off the American coast, an area rich in marine wilderness and underwater oil and gas resources.
Given Mr. Biden’s promise to ban new wells, the new offshore management plan will most likely reintroduce Obama-era policies that banned oil exploration across the east and west coasts of the United States – and possibly go further by the Offshore drilling will be limited by Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. However, it will be difficult to write the legal, economic and scientific justifications.
“You have to get started and really get started,” said Jacqueline Savitz, vice president of Oceana, an environmental group.
As the department takes action against offshore drilling, it is expected to help start up offshore wind farms. Last week the agency took an important step to approve the country’s first major offshore wind farm near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., A project that has been in the works for years.