March 19, 2024

Speaker Johnson, Leader Jeffries, and Members of the House of Representatives:

On behalf of the undersigned conservation, climate, and public lands organizations, we write today in strong opposition to H.R. 6009, the Restoring American Energy Dominance Act. This legislation circumvents and undermines the administrative process, ignores significant public input across the West, and halts a long overdue update to the federal onshore oil and gas leasing program that protects taxpayers, public lands and the wildlife and communities who rely on them. More importantly, it would prevent Interior from undertaking any substantially similar rule, effectively prohibiting the agency from doing its job to oversee the federal leasing program. We therefore urge all members of the House of Representatives to vote no on this harmful legislation.

The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rule updates federal regulations to x fiscal reforms enacted via the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These reforms included increasing the royalty rate for producing oil and gas on federal public lands, realigning rents and fees to account for decades of inflation, and reducing speculation by ending non-competitive leasing and implementing a new nomination fee.

Beyond the IRA, the proposed rule includes a host of other long-overdue protections, including language to penalize routine abusers; preference criteria to steer leasing wedecisions away from critical habitat, cultural resources, and reduce speculation; and urgent bonding reforms that help ensure that oil and gas operators — rather than taxpayers and surrounding communities — bear the cost of cleaning up drilling sites after production ends.

The reforms in the IRA and this proposed rule — taken together — implement the baseline recommendations outlined by the Department of the Interior, address dire shortcomings in the oil and gas bonding system identified by the Government Accountability Office and other nonpartisan watchdogs over many years, and ensure taxpayers are not subsidizing the oil industry and then paying to clean up drilling sites.

H.R. 6009 would require BLM to withdraw its proposed rule, scuttling many of these important fiscal reforms to protect taxpayers and complicating implementation of duly enacted statutes. Moreover, the draft legislation runs contrary to the will of the general public. During the rule’s 60-day comment period, over 260,000 Americans submitted public comments for the record — over 99 percent of which were supportive of the rule.

Lastly, prohibiting the BLM from moving forward a substantially similar rule is a legislative poison pill. If enacted, it would preclude the agency from administering the federal onshore oil and gas program in the public interest and acknowledging challenges like climate change, extinction, and the clean energy transition — instead requiring that it maintain a broken status quo that favors special interest profits.

For these reasons, we oppose H.R. 6009, and we urge all members of the House of Representatives to vote no on passage.


Archaeology Southwest
Audubon Rockies
Citizens for Clean Air, Grand Junction, CO
Climate Action Campaign
Climate Law & Policy Project
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Colorado Fiscal Institute
Colorado Wildlands Project
Colorado Wildlife Federation
Conservation Colorado
Conservation Lands Foundation
Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
Dakota Resource Council
Eagle Summit Wilderness Alliance
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Defense Fund
Friends of the Earth US
Great Old Broads for Wilderness – Grand Junction Area Chapter
Great Old Broads for Wilderness – Northwest Colorado Chapter
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Interfaith Power & Light
League of Conservation Voters
Los Pedros ForestWatch
Montana Wildlife Federation
National Audubon Society
National Parks Conservation Association
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nevada Conservation League
Nevada Wildlife Federation
New Mexico Voices for Children
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
Northern Plains Resource Council
Nuestra Tierra
Powder River Basin Resource Council
Public Citizen
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
Rocky Mountain Wild
Sheep Mountain Alliance
Sierra Club
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
The Wilderness Society
Town of Nederland, CO
Union of Concerned Scientists
Western Colorado Alliance
Western Organization of Resource Councils
Western Slope Conservation Center
West Virginia Rivers Coalition
Wild Montana
Wilderness Workshop
Wyoming Outdoor Council