Biden administration resumes oil and gas leases on public lands, but drastically reduces where it can happen in Colorado
In the first week of his presidency, President Biden signed an executive order to end oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters in an effort to limit global warming emissions. But after a federal judge in Louisiana ordered that sales resumethe administration is moving forward with its first onshore sales of oil and natural gas drilling leases on public lands.
At the same time, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is dramatically reducing the amount of land available for oil and gas development, an 80% reduction in the number of acres companies originally expressed interest in developing for drilling. in nine states.
In Colorado, the initial application was for 119 parcels for new oil and gas projects covering 141,675 acres. The office said it conducted additional environmental reviews of these plots, engaged with tribes and communities, and prioritized people’s interests in public lands. That led the office to approve less than 5% of that application — just nine parcels covering 5,275 acres are eligible for oil and gas lease sales in June for Colorado.
The US Department of the Interior called the move a significant reform of onshore oil and gas lease sales. In a statement, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said it was a “reset” on “how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of American resources for the benefit of all present and future generations.
“For too long, federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the needs of the extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs tribal nations and additionally other uses of our shared public lands,” Haaland said.