Interior resumes planning process for oil and gas lease sales

Mar 21, 2022

The Biden administration said it is planning to resume plans to lease public lands for oil and gas drilling, following a favorable interim ruling in a lawsuit over whether or not the federal government can factor the true cost of carbon into federal decision-making. The decision temporarily lifts a court-ordered ban on factoring the cost of carbon into federal decision-making issued last month, which prompted the Interior Department to halt oil and gas leasing. The Interior Department has declined to say whether the administration will resume lease sales in the near term.

“Throughout its time in office, the Biden administration has followed the law while moving to reform the wildly outdated system governing oil and gas development on our public lands. Today’s announcement shows they are continuing that commitment to following the law,” Center for Western Priorities Policy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn said of the news that the Interior Department will resume planning for onshore leasing. “Before offering new leases, the Interior Department must reform the public lands oil and gas leasing system. That means making sure taxpayers get a fair share for publicly-owned resources, cracking down on rampant speculation, and taking into account the costs to our climate and communities.”

Ironically, Republican attorneys general brought the cost of carbon lawsuit against the Biden administration after it raised the cost of carbon to $51 per ton last year, setting into motion the very lease sale delays the oil and gas industry has complained about in recent weeks, including the indefinite postponement of a first quarter lease sale in Wyoming.

BLM employees say agency should do more about climate change

Results from an internal survey conducted by the Bureau of Land Management show 68 percent of employees think more resources should be focused on addressing global warming.

A majority of employees also said they want the bureau to give more weight to “equity, environmental justice, landscape resilience, connectivity, ecosystem services” and greenhouse gas emissions “when making allocation and land management decisions.”

The “Climate Change Listening Sessions,” outlined in an executive summary to BLM staffers, produced more than 3,200 comments submitted by about 1,500 employees during 15 listening sessions last year. All of the comments were anonymous.

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Quote of the day

”Nevadans value public land and understand their vital role in fighting climate change, protecting wildlife and boosting our economy. Its protection is as important as ever, as natural resources continue to be degraded by climate-fueled weather events such as wildfires, drought and extreme heat waves.”

Angelyn Tabalba, communications director of the Nevada Conservation League and Education Fund

Picture this

field of wildflowers with mountain and sunset in background

Happy First Day of Spring!  🌺 

Here’s to warmer temperatures, new life and dramatic splashes of every imaginable color.

Photo courtesy of Scott Elio

(featured image: Oil and gas development on federal lease managed by BLM California, BLM/Flickr)