STATEMENT on Interior Department resuming onshore oil and gas leases

Apr 15, 2022

DENVER—The Interior Department announced today it would resume onshore oil and gas lease sales, as required by a federal court order. The acreage offered in the upcoming sale is roughly 80 percent smaller than previously planned, down from 733,000 acres to 144,000 acres. The leased parcels will carry a royalty rate of 18.75 percent, bringing rates in line with royalties that oil companies pay on state and private lands.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Deputy Director Aaron Weiss:

“Today’s announcement is good news. It shows that Secretary Haaland and her team at Interior are listening to Westerners and working in the best interest of taxpayers. By limiting the upcoming sale to areas with existing oil and gas infrastructure, Interior will prevent speculators from locking up public lands with little or no potential for future production. Raising the royalty rate ensures taxpayers will get a fair share from oil produced on these parcels.


“While we’ll have to see the final maps next week, the size of the lease sale suggests that Interior has done its job listening to communities, engaging with Tribal nations, and taking into account the needs of wildlife across the West. Because of this responsible approach, oil and gas CEOs will undoubtedly whine that they want to lock up more of our public lands, even as they sit on thousands of approved but unused permits to drill, and millions more leased but unused acres of land.


“We hope this lease sale becomes a model for a permanent solution. America still needs comprehensive reform of the entire oil and gas leasing system, onshore and offshore. The leasing program must take into account the full cost to our climate that comes with more drilling. This upcoming sale is a step in the right direction.”