First onshore oil and gas lease sale draws meager interest, two lawsuits

Jun 30, 2022

The Biden administration’s first onshore oil and gas lease sale began yesterday with around 99,000 acres offered in Wyoming. Oil and gas companies declined to bid on over a third of the parcels offered yesterday, or around half of the acreage offered, indicating the industry is less interested in leasing federal land than it has previously claimed.

Meanwhile, a dozen environmental groups filed two separate lawsuits yesterday over the federal oil and gas lease sale currently underway. 

The sale includes roughly 160 parcels spanning about 130,000 acres across the West and Oklahoma, with 90 percent of that acreage located in Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management offered around 20 percent of the total acreage oil and gas companies requested be included in the sale.

One lawsuit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of The Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth, alleges the Wyoming lease sale violates the National Environmental Policy Act. The second lawsuit, filed by Western Environmental Law on behalf of ten other groups, alleges the entire lease sale violates the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

The two-day lease sale continues today with around 30,000 acres to be offered in Wyoming and other states.

Monuments to America’s past

In recent decades, presidents have used the Antiquities Act to help shape our collective understanding of what counts as U.S. history, designating national monuments that tell the stories of women as well as Black, LGBTQ, Latino, and Indigenous people.

A new interactive storymap from the Center for Western Priorities puts this shift into context, with information about the history of the Antiquities Act and its evolution under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The map also identifies four proposed national monuments that President Joe Biden could designate today in order to honor the history of people of color in the U.S. 

Quick hits

Orphan well cleanup funds don’t go far enough in Wyoming


Environmental groups file suit over federal oil and gas lease sale

Reuters | Casper Star-Tribune | The Hill | Wyoming Public Media | CNN | Salon | Idaho Capital Sun

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Quote of the day

”The Southwest, where Bears Ears sits, is facing its worst drought in 1200 years. All five tribes of the intertribal coalition remember the last drought over a millennia ago because our ancestors saw it, and these stories are codified in our history.”

—Dr. Len Necefer on how tribal co-management can help address climate change, Outside

Picture this

hawk landing on grassy bush

🚨New species alert!🚨
It’s not every day that a new species is confirmed in the park, but the zone-tailed hawk is now on our bird species list after a park wildlife camera captured a photo of one! These hawks have been expanding northward for the last few decades..

(featured image: Pumpjacks in Wyoming. BLM Wyoming, Flickr)