WASHINGTON – The following statement is from The Wilderness Society Senior Policy Advisor David Alberswerth in response to the 3-D, Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011 introduced by Sen. Vitter (LA) and Rep. Rob Bishop (UT).
“This legislation puts the foxes in charge of the henhouse. Under this bill, the oil and gas industry would essentially run the Interior Department’s offshore oil and gas program and the BLM’s oil shale program. It also mandates the destruction of the fragile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, eviscerates the Endangered Species Act, allows polluters to continue dumping greenhouse gases and endangering the public without any EPA oversight under the Clean Air Act, and restricts the right of Americans to use the federal courts to enforce environmental laws.
“Another needless part of the bill reinstates a number of old Utah leases, even though those leases were deemed invalid in federal court. The Utah oil and gas industry doesn’t need more leases -- it is sitting on millions of acres of idle leases it isn’t using. According to BLM data, 4,855,833 acres of BLM lands are under lease in Utah, while only 1,088,431 acres of these leases are in production. In addition, last year the BLM issued 402 drilling permits (APDs) in Utah, while the industry only drilled 172 new wells on them.
“The bill is based on the myth that Administration policies are inhibiting oil and gas development on federal lands, while tens of millions of acres of federal leases lands sit idle in Utah and elsewhere, and thousands of drilling permits issued by the BLM go unused by the industry.”