Oil and gas companies aren’t interested in leasing Wyoming public land

Dec 12, 2023

Despite claims from Wyoming politicians that the Biden administration is “at war with American energy,” new analysis by the Center for Western Priorities finds that in 2023, oil and gas companies didn’t bother to bid on nearly half of the acres of public land the Biden administration offered for drilling in Wyoming.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the Interior Department has now held three oil and gas lease sales in Wyoming. The auctions offered up nearly 230,000 acres of national public land and brought in more than $30 million in revenue. Yet the analysis reveals that oil and gas companies had tepid interest in almost all of the land the industry itself nominated for leasing and that nearly all of the revenue from the auctions came from a miniscule portion of the acres offered. The 2023 lease sales suggest that the oil industry has already leased the vast majority of public land in Wyoming that is ever likely to produce oil, and very little unleased land in the state is of serious interest to oil and gas companies.

With nearly eight million acres already under lease, oil and gas companies nominated less than 140,000 new acres for leasing this year. And as the auction results show, only a tiny sliver of that is land that’s valuable enough for drillers to spend real money to lease.

Interior Department announces new actions for nature-based solutions

The Department of the Interior announced new steps to use nature-based solutions in its efforts to tackle the climate crisis, including the launch of a new tool to make these strategies more accessible to the public. Nature-based solutions use or mimic natural features or processes to tackle both social and environmental challenges. These solutions can include green infrastructure, natural infrastructure, and natural climate solutions.

Quick hits

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Quote of the day

I feel like the parks are part of America’s consciousness. They don’t try to lead you to a conclusion. They try to get you to understand that time period. It should impact you so you carry those stories with you when you leave the park.”

—Charles Sams, National Park Service Director, HuffPost

Picture This

owl winking

Beak of the Week has returned!

Is this little Western Screech Owl winking, or perhaps it’s giving a stink- eye after being awakened from its daytime slumber? These owls have a distinctive square-ish head and prominent ear tufts. A small nocturnal hunter that works from dawn till dusk, it finds a perch where it can wait for prey to happen by – small mammals, worms, snails, etc., and it can also snatch insects in flight. Western Screech Owls do not build a nest, preferring to find a tree cavity already excavated by a helpful woodpecker; here in the Sonoran Desert, that can often mean a hole in a Saguaro. If you’re lucky, you may hear its series of hoots or even see a small face peering from you from a Saguaro cavity!

What kinds of owls have you seen?

To learn more about birds at Organ Pipe Cactus, visit https://www.nps.gov/orpi/learn/nature/birds.htm

NPS Photo.


Featured photo: Pronghorn on a Wyoming oil field. Tara Boucher/BLM Wyoming