DENVER — The Department of Interior’s announcement that it will defer oil and gas leases on some Western public lands because of insufficient environmental analysis or because they impacted priority habitat for sage grouse is good news for wildlife, our lands and waters, and all who depend on our public lands. The agency also announced that for future environmental analysis, it will consider potential greenhouse gas emissions and the social costs of those lease sales.
“We welcome these oil and gas deferrals so that sage grouse habitat can be prioritized and so proper environmental assessments can be made. Now it’s time for the administration to release its long-awaited plans for reforming the antiquated oil and gas leasing system to ensure that our lands are leased in a responsible manner and that taxpayers are getting a fair economic return,” said Andrew Black, public lands field director for the National Wildlife Federation. “We are also very encouraged that the administration will consider the social costs of oil and gas leasing on public lands including impacts to air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and the quality of life of nearby communities in its future assessments and that the agency will actively seek input from the public, Tribal communities and state agencies on proposed lease sales.”
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