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Conservationists say Biden administration's environmental record is a mixed bag

The Biden administration has worked to offset the effects of climate change with large renewable energy projects, including some on public lands in Arizona.

But conservationists say the president’s environmental record is mixed.

Although the administration has fast tracked wind and solar projects, it has done little to reduce oil and gas drilling on public lands, and the U.S. remains a leader in worldwide oil and gas production.

"In addition to production being at all-time highs, the administration has continued to issue drilling permits on public lands, at a rate similar to or even in excess of the Trump administration," said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Biden has also created new national monuments, including one near the Grand Canyon.

McKinnon said the administration needs to do a better job of managing grazing on existing monuments, such as Agua Fria National Monument, because overgrazing on public lands can harm endangered species and contribute to warming temperatures.

"We’ve seen management of some or our existing national monuments that leaves a lot to be desired," he said.

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.