Statement on Tuesday’s oil and gas lease sale in Montana

Mar 12, 2018

Zinke continues to make policy by tweet

DENVER — Ahead of Tuesday’s planned oil and gas lease auction covering 46,000 acres of public land in Montana, including a parcel bordering Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Advocacy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn:

“Selling oil leases at the doorstep of national monuments reveals again that Secretary Zinke’s Interior Department is no longer managed by best practices and hard science. Instead of making policy by tweet and listening exclusively to oil and gas companies, Secretary Zinke should take time to hear from the public and work to find a solution for our nation’s public lands. Right now there is no rational framework for decision-making in place. America’s parks and public lands deserve better.”

Interior Secretary Zinke tried to earn himself a round of good headlines when he took a small portion of Montana leases off the table last week. But he is still moving ahead with drilling near Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Bears Ears National Monument, and Great Sand Dunes National Park.

In a statement postponing the lease of 17,000 acres near Livingston, Montana, Zinke said, “‚Ķthere are places where it is appropriate to develop and where it’s not. This area certainly deserves more study,” a characterization that just as easily describes much of the land he is still leasing this week.

As the online auction begins on Tuesday, Zinke is scheduled to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. His testimony comes with the Interior Department under fire for omitting the comments of more than 100,000 Americans from its report on sage-grouse conservation, and on the heels of Secretary Zinke making several false statements that have been fact-checked in the past two weeks.


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Photo: Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management