The Biden administration’s proposed onshore oil and gas leasing rule is a common-sense, widely supported, and long overdue action that will reduce conflict between oil and gas and other uses of our public lands that are essential to supporting Westerners’ way of life: open land, hunting, fishing, recreation, renewable energy, and conservation. 

For too long, the broken federal oil and gas leasing program has prioritized the oil and gas industry’s vision for our public lands, threatening wildlife, clean air and water, and Western communities, while short-changing taxpayers and all who use and cherish the nation’s public lands.

A whopping 90 percent of the public lands and minerals in the West overseen by the nation’s largest federal land manager, the Bureau of Land Management, are open to oil and gas leasing. That’s more than 192 million acres – an area roughly the size of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming combined – that could be tied up in oil and gas leases for decades to come.

Our communities are counting on the Biden administration to listen to the public and finalize the strongest possible reforms as soon as possible to protect taxpayers, support wildlife, and ensure that our public lands and minerals are better managed to benefit all uses, not just oil and gas development.

DOI’s proposed rule reforms the oil and gas program by:

  • Requiring oil and gas companies to clean up after themselves by raising bonding rates to better cover reclamation costs—instead of making taxpayers foot the bill;
  • Limiting speculative leasing where there is little or no potential for oil and gas development and reducing oil and gas leasing conflicts with important wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and cultural resources; 
  • Raising important fiscal rates and fees for onshore oil and gas leases in line with the long-overdue updates secured in statute last year, as well as requiring annual reviews of and, when necessary, updates to the rental rates and minimum lease bid, so that oil and gas companies are always paying market rates for the privilege of leasing and drilling on our lands; and
  • Ensuring that the public has a seat at the table when oil and gas development is proposed on public lands

These reforms, which DOI first recommended in its November, 2021 report, reflect input from a diverse range of people, including Western communities, environmental justice advocates, business owners, local community members, hunters and anglers, and industry executives.

Join our efforts to reform the federal oil and gas program today!



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