Gordon Celebrates Resumption of Federal Gas and Oil Concession Sales – Sheridan Media
This story first appeared on Cowboy State Daily.
By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Governor Mark Gordon on Friday celebrated the news that President Joe Biden’s administration would once again allow the sale of oil and gas leases.
However, Gordon also questioned the impact of the Biden administration’s decision to reduce the number of acres available for rental while increasing royalty rates.
“I’m concerned that these changes will have a chilling effect on Wyoming businesses as they prepare their bids,” he said.
On Monday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will release final environmental assessments and sale notices for upcoming oil and gas lease sales that reflect the federal government’s new approach to making federal properties available for lease.
Gordon said the news that an oil and gas lease sale would take place for the first time in more than a year was welcome, but tempered by acreage reductions and new royalty rates.
“The announcement of an upcoming sale of federal oil and gas leases is welcome, but long overdue,” Gordon said on Friday. “While we don’t know the exact number and location of parcels in Wyoming, after 15 months of no lease sales in our state, learning that royalty rates will be increased and available acreage will be significantly reduced is hardly cause for unbridled celebration.”
The BLM said the lease sales will be conducted with tribal consultation and broad community input, include analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, and increase the royalty rate to 18.75% from 12.5 % long-term.
Biden ended oil and gas leasing almost immediately after taking office in 2021.
“How we manage our public lands and waters speaks volumes about what we value as a nation. For too long, federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the needs of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of tribal nations and additionally other uses from our shared audience. land,” U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Friday. “Today we begin to reset how and what we consider the highest and best use of American resources for the benefit of all present and future generations.”
A report released by the Biden administration last November on oil and gas leasing was called “embarrassing” by Gordon and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.
The BLM assessed potentially available and eligible acreage in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. It began analyzing 646 plots on approximately 733,000 acres that had previously been nominated for lease by energy companies.
Following environmental review, engagement with tribes and communities, and prioritization of the interests of the American people in public lands, final notices of sale will offer approximately 173 parcels on approximately 144,000 acres, a reduction of 80% compared to the area initially designated.
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