Flying in the face of the White House\u0026#039;s reference to the climate crisis as an \u0022existential threat\u0022 and President Joe Biden\u0026#039;s campaign pledge, his administration has so far approved fossil fuel drilling permits on public and tribal lands at a faster rate than his two immediate predecessors, a new Associated Press analysis has found.\r\n\r\n\u0022We’re not only subsidizing the climate and ecological crisis,\u0022 climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in response to the new reporting, \u0022we\u0026#039;re speeding it up.\u0022\r\n\r\nWith over 2,100 permits approved in the first six months of the year, the AP\u0026#039;s analysis of government data found, and if the current trend holds, the number approved by the Interior Department by the year could hit near 6,000—a figure not seen since fiscal year 2008.\r\n\r\nOnce in office, Biden quickly put a temporary pause—blocked by a federal judge in June—on new leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands, a development welcomed by climate campaigners who saw it as step towards fulfilling his campaign vow to end such extraction. The order did allow permits to be issued by Interior Department leadership, as The Hill previously reported. The administration lifted that restriction limiting the provision of drilling permits in March.\r\n\r\nThe temporary suspension also didn\u0026#039;t affect existing leases, including those former President Donald Trump approved in a \u0022rapid-fire leasing blitz\u0022 in his final months in office.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022The pace [of lease approvals] dropped when Biden first took office, under a temporary order that elevated permit reviews to senior administration officials,\u0022 AP reported. \u0022Approvals have since rebounded to a level that exceeds monthly numbers seen through most of Trump\u0026#039;s presidency.\u0022\r\n\r\nEnvironmental campaigners had expressed hope that the Biden administration, especially after the March confirmation of Deb. Haaland as Interior Secretary, would be able \u0022to chart a new course\u0022 (pdf) for the federal fossil fuels program and undo the wreckage of the \u0022Trump-era assault on our air and water.\u0022\r\n\r\nSpeaking at a House Natural Resources Committee last month, Haaland said, \u0022Gas and oil production will continue well into the future.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022I don\u0026#039;t think there is a plan right now for a permanent ban\u0022 on new drilling leases on public lands and waters, she added. \u0022But, as I said, the review will come out early summer, and we will assess the fossil fuel programs at that time.”\r\n\r\nTaylor McKinnon, a senior campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity—one of the organizations that\u0026#039;s called for the Biden administration to stop fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters—put AP\u0026#039;s findings in the context of the climate emergency.\r\n\r\n“Our planet, livelihoods, and life support systems are in grave danger. We\u0026#039;re out of time,” he said in a statement Common Dreams Tuesday.\r\n\r\n\u0022We can\u0026#039;t fight the climate crisis while continuing to expand fossil fuel extraction,\u0022 said McKinnon, adding that \u0022President Biden promised to end federal leasing and drilling for good reason.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We have to hold him to his promise,\u0022 he said.\r\n\r\n\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\nThis article has been updated to include comments from McKinnon.