Today, after Interior announced on Friday, April 15, that it would resume onshore oil and gas lease sales and implement a suite of reforms including the first-ever royalty rate increase to 18.75%, the department released its final lease sale notices of approximately 144,000 acres of public lands in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
Interior announced that these lease sales will be held in June 2022 even as the oil and gas industry controls over 26 million acres of public lands and is sitting on more than 9,000 approved permits for drilling.
In response to Interior’s announcement of lease sale notices, Earthjustice president Abigail Dillen issued the following statement:
“The Biden administration had an opportunity to meet this critical moment and match its climate promises with action. Instead, it is guaranteeing new fossil fuel drilling for decades to come. While we are relieved that Interior downsized the acreage of public lands to be auctioned and made a long-overdue increase to the royalty rate, the decision to lease nearly 135,000 acres for oil and gas drilling in Wyoming is impossible to reconcile with the administration’s commitments to climate action. According to the Interior Department’s own estimates, the sale will impose billions of dollars in social and environmental costs that will fall on Tribes and communities that cannot afford to wait for bold climate commitments.
“As the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report warns us, the only solution to our worsening climate crisis is to transition to clean energy as fast as we can and stop green-lighting new fossil fuel projects that benefit oil and gas companies, which are raking in record-high profits at all of our expense. We have run out of time, and we urge the Biden administration to keep their promises to stop new oil and gas drilling on our public lands.”