The federal government’s system for leasing out our public lands for oil and gas development is in much need of reform. Taxpayers have been walked all over by a system that designed primarily to benefit oil industry speculators.
In fact, large swaths of the American West have been gobbled up for as low as $2 per acre–well below fair market value. Taxpayers are also being fleeced by low royalty rates, abandoned wells, and a leasing binge over the past four years that ignored market conditions.
Thankfully, bi-partisan legislation has been introduced to fix some of these problems and ensure that taxpayers receive a fair return.
U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jackie Rosen (D-NV) have stepped up to the plate, introducing the Fair Returns for Public Lands Act, which increases minimum bids, royalty rates, and rental rates.
Another important reform bill, the End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act, has been introduced by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), This bill will make it harder for speculators to use oil and gas leases to lock up lands that have little or no prospect for development–lands better managed for other purposes, such as hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation.
These two pieces of legislation, along with the current review of the leasing system being conducted by the U.S. Department of Interior, offer a unique opportunity to restore some fiscal sanity to oil and gas activity on our nation’s public lands.
Bi-partisan support is needed for these prudent reforms, which are essential to restoring balance to the management of America’s public lands–lands which belong to all of us.
Both pieces of legislation need and deserve conservative support. A little encouragement from you can go a long way. Please send a letter to your Senators in Congress using the form below. You have the option of sending a quick and easy prewritten letter, or to edit it as you see fit. Thanks!