Statement on the Bureau of Land Management’s Final Oil and Gas Rule

Apr 12, 2024

DENVER—Today the Bureau of Land Management released its final Oil and Gas Rule, which updates regulations governing onshore oil and gas development on national public lands. The rule codifies updated rental rates for acres of public land leased and royalty rates on oil and gas extracted, ensuring taxpayers receive a fair return on public resources extracted from public lands. The rule also updates inadequate bonding rates that haven’t been updated in decades, ensuring that operators, not taxpayers, bear the costs of clean-up. Finally, the rule codifies clear and consistent criteria that give preference to leasing lands with higher potential to actually produce oil and gas, and that discourage leasing in areas that have important wildlife, cultural, historical, and recreation resources.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Policy Director Rachael Hamby:

“The reforms in the final Oil and Gas Rule are common-sense and long overdue. Updating royalty, rental, and bonding rates—and ensuring those rates don’t fall out of date again in the future—ensures a fair return for taxpayers and is the fiscally responsible thing to do. Discouraging companies from locking up lands they are not actually interested in drilling will help bring balance to the way the BLM manages our public lands by putting other land uses on a more equal footing with oil and gas.

“Western voters know that the impacts of oil and gas development are a serious problem, and this rule would bring public land management more in line with what Westerners value. Along with the recently-finalized Renewable Energy Rule, and other rules that we hope to see finalized soon including the Public Lands Rule, BLM is creating a framework for success that will help the agency make good on its promise of multiple use and sustained yield for present and future generations.”

The final Oil and Gas Rule has overwhelming support. A sentiment analysis conducted by the Center for Western Priorities found that over 99 percent of the public comments on the rule encouraged the Interior Department to adopt the rule largely as written. Another one-half of one percent of the comments were neutral on the details of the rule, generally requesting that BLM end all oil and gas drilling or take other actions outside the scope of the proposed rule. Just one-tenth of one percent of the public comments encouraged BLM to withdraw or significantly weaken the proposed rule.

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