On Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management announced it will continue its pause on auctions for leases to develop oil and natural gas on federal lands through the second quarter of 2021. The move is an extension of the leasing pause initiated in January in conjunction with a Department of the Interior review of the federal oil and gas leasing program. The review is focused on “whether the current leasing process provides taxpayers with a fair return.” Short version: it does not. The federal oil and gas program is broken and urgently needs reform.
Following the announcement, Autumn Hanna, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, issued the following statement:
Continuing the pause on federal oil and gas lease sales is the fiscally responsible approach. Under current rules, oil and gas companies can bid at ridiculously low levels and sign 10-year deals to pay rent at 1980s prices and royalties at sweetheart rates. Holding more lease sales now would mean locking in these money-losing terms for developing federal resources. The better option is to let the review run its course, reform the oil and gas program by ditching outdated terms and updating rules, and fix the broken policies of the past. Smarter, strategic leasing of federal lands will save us billions of dollars. It is time for federal taxpayers to stop being suckers, and for the agencies that manage our resources to get us the fair return we are due.