The Department of the Interior Must Reform an Antiquated Oil and Gas Leasing System

DENVER — The National Wildlife Federation, along with 15,000 of its members, submitted comments to the Department of Interior, urging the agency to make substantial reforms to its antiquated oil and gas leasing system. Public comments were solicited by the Interior Department following a public forum in which Indigenous leaders, industry officials, conservationists, and labor advocates testified about the need to reform both offshore and onshore leasing. 

“We are thrilled that the administration is conducting a thorough review process of its leasing program and urge the agency to commit to reforms that will ensure all Americans are better served by our public lands,” said Mary Greene, public lands attorney for the National Wildlife Federation. “Such reforms can contribute to much-needed conservation and restoration of critical wildlife habitat, waterways, and other important land resources. The reforms can also help make the transition to a clean energy economy and put the nation on course to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions on federal lands and waters by 2030.” 

National Wildlife Federation members signed comments urging the Department of the Interior to make the following reforms: 

  • Don’t offer leases in key wildlife habitat areas, culturally significant areas, or near crucial recreation areas.
  • Don’t lease on lands where there is little potential for energy development.
  • Initiate fiscal reforms so that energy companies are paying their fair share, institute higher bonding rates so there is enough money for abandoned well clean up, and support efforts in Congress to make these fiscal reforms as well.
  • Provide funding to restore lands that have been damaged by energy development. Such restoration will create good paying jobs.
  • Include more public involvement and transparency in land management decisions.

The Department of the Interior is expected to issue an interim report about oil and gas leasing reforms later this summer.



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