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:
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