U.S. Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to issue all oil and gas leases through competitive auction, ending noncompetitive leasing and encouraging government inefficiency. Noncompetitive leases are lands that the market has determined have little or no potential for oil and gas development. They are commonly purchased by speculators and rarely developed.
Phil Francis, Chairman of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement of support:
“The Trump administration is taking advantage of our country’s broken leasing system, allowing oil and gas companies to lease some of America’s most iconic landscapes behind closed doors, including lands on the doorstep of our national parks.
We should not have to worry that our parks will be threatened by nearby oil and gas leasing and drilling, but the century-old noncompetitive leasing process is not transparent, meaning that oil companies abuse the system and nominate lease after lease, regardless of the potential impact to nearby national parks.
In just the last three and half years, the administration has made nearly 3.5 million acres of public lands across the country available for leasing through a noncompetitive process. Senator Tester’s bill will bring desperately needed reform and ensure that our public lands are no longer being leased through a backdoor process.”