STATEMENT on Interior Department resuming oil and gas lease sales

Mar 18, 2022

DENVER—Today, the Interior Department announced it will resume plans to offer oil and gas leases on public lands. The announcement comes after a federal appeals court ruled earlier this week that the agency can continue to consider climate impacts when offering leases. In response, the Center for Western Priorities issued the following statement from Policy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn:

“Throughout its time in office, the Biden administration has followed the law while moving to reform the wildly outdated system governing oil and gas development on our public lands.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.

“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.

“Make no mistake, resuming lease sales today  will do nothing to increase oil production tomorrow. As Americans feel pain at the pump, oil companies are sitting on more than 9,000 approved, but unused, drilling permits they can use now, but are choosing not to. Further, oil companies now hold roughly 25 million acres of leases, roughly half of which are sitting idle.”


  • Biden administration to resume plans for federal oil and gas development [Reuters]
  • Appellate court rules Biden can consider climate damage in policymaking [Washington Post]
  • By the numbers: Onshore oil and gas leasing and drilling under the Biden administration [Center for Western Priorities]
  • High gas prices and oil industry lies [“The Landscape” Podcast]