Some of our country’s public lands are being sold for oil and gas drilling even though that land is unlikely to produce any oil and gas. And when this happens, the land can’t be managed for other purposes like conservation or recreation.
This practice of leasing land with low or no potential for oil and gas development is also known as speculative leasing, and it has two big drawbacks:
1. Because the land is unlikely to produce oil or gas, there isn’t much money to be made on behalf of us, the taxpayers.
2. There are millions of acres of public lands across America that are leased but have little to no potential for producing oil and gas. And when a parcel of land is under lease, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) prioritizes oil and gas at the expense of managing the land for other important uses, including recreation, conservation, or clean energy development.
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act requires public lands to be managed for multiple uses. But this is hard to do when the oil and gas industry has already leased millions of acres of land that they are essentially sitting on.
The oil and gas industry has over 26 million acres of public land under lease. Currently, nearly 13 million acres of that public land is sitting idle. That means nearly 50% of public land under lease by oil and gas companies is not being used.
The solution to this problem? End speculative leasing.
The End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2021, introduced by Senator Cortez Masto, would:
1. Require BLM to evaluate the potential of public lands for mineral development (ie oil and gas extraction) before offering these lands up for lease to oil and gas companies.
2. Prohibit oil and gas leasing on any public lands that have low or no development potential.
These actions would help protect the environment and our national parks. And the legislation will help save taxpayers money by ensuring that BLM isn’t wasting time and resources on leasing lands with no or low potential for oil and gas.
Help us ensure that Americans have access to their public lands by managing them effectively. Contact your representatives and urge them to support the End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2021.