Data released today by The Wilderness Society refutes the conclusions of a recent report by The American Petroleum Institute that government policies are inhibiting oil and gas development on onshore federal lands.
“API continues to cherry-pick data to push for more drilling on our public lands,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior policy advisor for The Wilderness Society.
The data released by the Wilderness Society shows that industry “nominations” for tracts of federal lands for leasing have declined over the past several years, with a resultant decline in the number of leases issued to oil and gas interests by the Bureau of Land Management. The Wilderness Society notes that, despite the downturn in leasing requests by industry, there are over 38.4 million acres of onshore federal lands currently under lease to the industry of which over 26 million acres have never been developed – an area larger than Kentucky.
In addition, The Wilderness Society also pointed out that the BLM in recent years has approved over 6,500 new drilling permits that have not been utilized by the industry.
“If the industry is so concerned with increasing drilling, their actions aren’t showing it,” said Nada Culver, senior director for agency policy and planning for The Wilderness Society. “The thousands of unused federal drilling permits, the tens of millions of acres of idle leases, and now the general downturn in lease tract nominations from industry– these facts all tell a far different story than the one that API is telling. The bottom line is that the new reforms implemented by the Bureau of Land Management are badly needed to restore an appropriate balance between development and conservation of our public lands, and the oil and gas industry has ample opportunities to responsibly develop oil and gas resources on those lands.”
The lease nominations data for the years 2006 through 2011 is here.