DENVER — National Wildlife Federation members sent more than 22,000 messages urging the Biden Administration to immediately reform the oil and gas leasing system to safeguard wildlife and restore the health of our public lands and waters. The members asked President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to begin the rulemaking process to codify reforms that were passed by Congress and to update the bonding system so that oil and gas companies are required to pay for the cleanup of lands they develop.
“National Wildlife Federation members made it clear that they want to see public lands managed for all uses — including wildlife conservation — not just energy development. It is time to require oil and gas companies to clean up after the development phase by raising bonding rates to fully cover reclamation costs and to stop the practice of speculative leasing,” said Bailey Brennan, public lands attorney at the National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud the administration for issuing leases only on lands where there is a high potential for development and for avoiding sensitive wildlife areas, but it’s time to put that guidance into a durable rule so that wildlife and public lands can continue to survive and thrive for future generations.”
“Hispanics care deeply about conservation and want the oil and gas industry to be held accountable, as shown in the 2023 Conservation Poll results. An overwhelming majority of registered Latino voters in western states, 88 percent, support requiring oil and gas companies to pay for all the clean-up and land restoration costs after drilling,” said Camilla Simon, executive director of Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO). “It is time for the Department of Interior to reform the broken leasing program to benefit the people, our public lands, and the environment. The oil and gas companies cannot continue calling all the shots, making communities pay the bill for cleaning up their mess, and operating in a way that contaminates our water, endangers public health and wildlife, and threatens the outdoor economy and recreational sites.”
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