Press Release

Senate bill would end abusive practice of backdoor oil and gas leasing on public lands

Oil and gas wells on public lands

WildEarth Guardians, flickr.

Legislation would ban non-competitive leasing on public lands

Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) introduced the Competitive Onshore Mineral Policy via Eliminating Taxpayer-Enabled Speculation (COMPETES) Act.   

In response, The Wilderness Society released the following statement from Colorado State Director Jim Ramey:

“Harmful and abusive policies like non-competitive leasing have no place in a 21st century federal energy program that should be managing public lands for the benefit of communities and the climate, not polluters. In Colorado, more than 650,000 acres of public lands have been leased noncompetitively for pennies on the dollar, with several leases near sensitive areas like the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, the Pawnee National Grasslands and Dinosaur National Monument.”

“We thank Senator Hickenlooper for his leadership in introducing the COMPETES Act, which will end this unjust practice, and we urge Congress to include this important bill in the Build Back Better Act.”

According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, 99 percent of leases that industry has obtained noncompetitively are never developed, making it a waste of taxpayer resources, and undercutting the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple use mandates.

Alex Thompson, Senior Communications Manager
[email protected]
(860) 416-0564