The National Wildlife Federation

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Modernizing Energy Development Will Benefit Taxpayers, Communities, Wildlife

DENVER, COLO — Five newly-introduced bills in the U.S. House of Representatives will modernize an antiquated oil and gas leasing system while protecting wildlife, public lands, and local communities from harmful impacts caused by energy development. The legislation, sponsored by members of the House Natural Resources Committee, also ensure that local communities have a seat at the table for public land management decisions. 

“For far too long, oil and gas companies have paid well-below market rates to lease our public lands – sometimes paying as little as $1.50 an acre. They also haven’t paid enough in bonding rates, which has left taxpayers footing the bill to clean up orphaned wells,” said Mary Greene, public lands attorney at the National Wildlife Federation. “The common-sense proposals outlined in these five bills ensure that companies pay their fair share, that local communities are kept informed about leasing plans, and that risks to public health are minimized.” 

The bills, sponsored by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), are:

  • The Taxpayer Fairness for Resource Development Act, which will modernize fiscal policies by eliminating noncompetitive leasing and increasing royalty rates, rental fees, and minimum bid amounts. 
  • The Restoring Community Input and Public Protections in Oil and Gas Leasing Act, which will restore environmental and public review of oil and gas lease sales 
  • The Bonding Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act, which will ensure that all wells are properly reclaimed, that the American tax payer is not responsible for these costs, and that local communities do not suffer from the health, safety, and environmental risks posed by un-reclaimed wells.
  • The Transparency in Energy Production Act. which will give the American people information about emissions that come from drilling on the land or in the water.
  • The Methane Waste Prevention Act, which will require oil and gas producers to capture methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas that is up to 80% more potent than carbon dioxide and one of the leading contributors to global warming.

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