The National Wildlife Federation

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Ending Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing on Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation heralded legislation from Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev) that would stop oil and gas speculators from leasing public lands that have little or no potential for energy development.  

“For too long, energy speculators have been allowed to abuse the leasing system on our public lands by paying rock bottom prices for land that has virtually no potential to produce oil and gas but does boost their balance sheets,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “Why does the Department of Interior prepare lease sales where there is no oil? The practice fails to generate money or oil for American taxpayers and prevents the land from being managed for conservation, wildlife or recreation.”

“Sen. Cortez Masto’s bill will put an end to the outrageous practice of leasing public land to energy speculators when that land has little or no potential of producing oil and gas,” said Rebekah Stetson of the Nevada Wildlife Federation.  “Ending that shameful practice is good news for American taxpayers, for wildlife and for anyone who enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking or bird watching on our cherished public lands.” 

Millions of acres of public land are leased each year that have no potential for energy development.  Sometimes those leases are sold for as little as $1.50 an acre.  This practice ties up land and resources that could be better spent for conservation and recreation. Local communities depend on the balanced, multiple use of public lands for hunting, fishing, camping and many other outdoor recreation opportunities.  This bill will result in the Bureau of Land Management managing the land for all Americans and not just the oil and gas industry. 

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