Legislation to End Noncompetitive Leasing Benefits Wildlife, Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation applauds a proposal to improve the nation’s oil and gas leasing system by ending the practice of noncompetitive leasing. Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) has introduced the COMPETES bill, which will end speculative leasing, reduce administrative costs, and allow the Bureau of Land Management to prioritize other management issues such as wildlife conservation and recreation. 

“This common-sense bill will put a stop to the wasteful practice of issuing oil and gas leases for as little as $1.50 an acre,” said Mary Greene, public lands attorney at the National Wildlife Federation. “It also improves government efficiency. Instead of spending time administering leases that will never be developed or generate money, this bill ensures that taxpayer dollars are spent on projects that will restore wildlife habitat, maintain clean water, and expand trails and recreation opportunities.” 

Noncompetitive leasing is an antiquated system that allows public land that isn’t sold at auction to be made available to speculators for nominal fees. A GAO report last year found that 99% of noncompetitive leases never go into production or generate royalties for taxpayers.


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