Interior Announces Resumption of Leasing: Sales Will Require "Climate Change" Analysis
Friday, April 15, 2022

After defying court orders for months, the Biden administration announced today that it intends to resume oil and gas lease sales on public lands.

The action will bring the Interior Department into compliance with a ruling issued by the Western District Court of Louisiana that placed an injunction on Biden's moratorium on lease sales. The department announced in a news release issued this afternoon that the Bureau of Land Management will post notices for "significantly reformed onshore lease sales that prioritize the American people’s interests in public lands and moves forward with addressing deficiencies in the federal oil and gas leasing program."

"For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands," said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations.”

On Monday, the BLM will issue notices for upcoming oil and gas lease sales that reflect Interior's new approach. The lease sales will have requirements that include tribal consultation and broad community input, analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, and an increase in the royalty rate for new competitive leases to 18.75 percent. 

The BLM sale notices will focus on parcels near existing development and infrastructure. The BLM intends to avoid "important wildlife habitat and migration corridors and sensitive cultural areas." The agency said including "the social cost of GHG emissions ... provides important context for the agency’s decision-making."

The BLM assessed eligible acreage in nine states including North Dakota. Of the 646 parcels on 733,000 acres that had been nominated for leasing, it will offer only 173 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres.

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