Early this week, the House of Representatives will be voting on a package to open up our public lands to oil and gas drilling. The act, entitled the Domestic Jobs and Energy Act (DEJA) really is déjà vu - just another bill that contains massive giveaways to Big Oil.
Oil and gas production had its most productive quarter in nearly 15 years so far in 2012 and is already raking in record profits while collecting over $4 billion annually in taxpayer subsidies. Yet, the majority in the House of Representatives wants to help them out even more by putting oil above all, including our public lands, our public health, hunters and fisherman, and our environment.
The bill includes a number of egregious provisions, including:
- A mandate that any oil taken from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is used to address national oil supply or economic emergencies, must be tied to drilling our public lands. This would result in tens of millions of acres of new public land drilling, which has no relevance to the using of this important tool.
- Redefining our public lands to make oil and gas drilling the only priority, instead of maintaining them and protecting them for hunting, fishing, and other types of recreations.
- Forcing the Bureau of Land Management to lease lands for drilling cherry-picked by the oil and gas industry.
- Charging people $5,000 for the right to challenge unwise or even unlawful drilling plans, putting communities, farmers and ranchers behind the oil and gas industry in line.
- Mandating leasing in the Western Arctic Reserve and eliminating any environmental review and environmental and safety protections.
The so-called “Domestic Energy and Jobs Act” is just another excuse to give away our land to the oil and gas industry, which certainly doesn’t need any more help, at the expense of our public lands and our environment.