CLEAR Act a Clear Solution to Oil and Gas Reforms

Jun 24, 2010

Bill has strong support from The Wilderness Society for improvements for conservation funding and reforms

The Wilderness Society today commends House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall on the release of a revised version of the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act – or CLEAR Act. “Mr. Rahall’s bill contains a number of important reforms of the federal government's onshore and offshore oil and gas programs,” said Senior Policy Advisor David Alberswerth, “we look forward to supporting his efforts to reform the Interior Department’s oil and gas programs.”

Among other things, the bill would abolish the Minerals Manage Service and replace it with three new agencies to manage the Interior Department’s energy programs; modify the Bureau of Land Management’s onshore oil and gas program to provide for better recovery and restoration of lands disturbed by drilling, provide for higher environmental standards by requiring “best management practices,” and requires disclosure of chemical substances used in oil and gas extraction. The bill also clarifies guidelines for renewable energy by establishing a leasing program for wind and solar energy projects.

“This is a historic bill for landscapes and habitat,” said Alberswerth. “Fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund – and guaranteeing the money – is a victory for habitat conservation across the country.”

The Wilderness Society is strongly supportive of the landscape and wildlife provisions in the CLEAR Act – such as the dedicated funding of $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the new Ocean Trust Fund, and the National Historic Preservation Fund. The bill would also provide a “safety net” for wildlife on BLM lands and National Forests that could be impaired by energy and other developments, by requiring the BLM and Forest Service to maintain sustainable populations of wildlife that inhabit these lands.

“The CLEAR Act is an excellent place to start the reforms needed in the government’s oil and gas programs, and complements many of the reforms that Secretary Salazar has initiated. We look forward to working with Chairman Rahall and other members of the House to strengthen its provisions and protect the lands that protect us,” said Alberswerth.