Urgent Federal Leasing Reforms Needed to Ensure Taxpayers Made Whole, Wildlife Safeguarded

Congress Should Pass ‘Common-Sense Reforms … in Final Version of Build Back Better Act’

WASHINGTON, D.C — A new report from the Department of the Interior underscores the urgent need to reform the on- and off-shore oil and gas leasing program to protect wildlife, make taxpayers whole, and address the climate crisis. The National Wildlife Federation urged Congress and the Biden Administration to act on the report’s recommendations, including strengthening Tribal consultation and passing the leasing reforms included in the Build Back Better Act.

“This report makes an incredibly compelling case both economically and ecologically for bringing the federal oil and gas leasing program into the 21st century,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Enacting these overdue reforms will ensure taxpayers, communities, and wildlife are no longer harmed by below-market rates, insufficient protections, and poor planning. We urge the Senate to include the common-sense reforms adopted by the House in the final version of the Build Back Better Act.”

“West Virginians cherish the outdoors – and we recognize the importance of common-sense rules for our public lands,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “We’re encouraged that the Department of the Interior’s new report lays out a path forward for long overdue updates to our public lands leasing system. We support Senator Manchin, as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in advancing these recommendations to help ensure fair returns on our shared public resources, as well as enhanced access to outdoor recreation opportunities that enrich our lives.

“If the federal oil and gas program worked properly, Nevada -- a state without significant oil reserves -- would not have been a hotbed of oil and gas leasing over the past several years. It is past time for a new approach to public lands management, one that actually values wildlife conservation and the recreational opportunities Nevadans cherish,” said Russell Kuhlman, executive director of the Nevada Wildlife Federation. “We thank President Biden and Secretary Haaland for this act of common sense.”

“We applaud the common-sense reforms proposed in the Department of Interior’s report, which will modernize the oil and gas leasing system, bring fairer returns for Colorado taxpayers, and ensure that our public lands are managed for multiple use - rather than simply prioritizing oil and gas over other uses - which will benefit wildlife, outdoor recreationists, and rural economies, ” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation. "Discontinuing the troublesome practice of leasing lands with low oil and gas potential really will benefit wildlife and local communities in some areas of Colorado." 



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