What They’re Saying: Federal Lands

Last week, the Department of the Interior released its long-awaited report on the federal oil and natural gas leasing program and was met with overwhelming criticism for further reducing domestic energy production as Americans face record gasoline and home heating costs.

As Energy In Depth noted last week, the report was released as the country was enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday – well after the “early summer” publication promised by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland – and as the Biden administration continues to argue in court that the leasing moratorium should be reinstated despite a judge ruling it an illegal ban earlier this year.

Here’s what they’re saying in response to the report:

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.):

“This report shows the administration’s continued efforts to shut down American oil and gas production on federal lands and waters. The Department of the Interior wants to increase costs for oil and gas producers at a time when energy prices are climbing for the American people. These higher costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher energy bills and prices at the pump.”

Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.):

“After keeping the entire energy industry in limbo for months, DOI’s report shows they have only just begun their war on safe, reliable, domestic energy. They won’t say that outright — they’ll veil their attacks behind the guise of ‘increased reviews,’ ‘necessary reforms,’ ‘adjusting royalty rates’ and more, but we know the real story.

“In what has become a clear pattern with the Biden administration, DOI is quietly releasing this report the Friday of a holiday weekend, months after they promised it, in the hopes that no one notices their continued attacks on domestic energy. Ironically, this is also coming mere days after President Biden announced he was releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a last-ditch effort to stabilize the energy crisis of his own making.”

Independent Petroleum Association of America:

“At a time when Americans continue to struggle with high prices and inflation for everything from food to fuel, today’s report from the Department of the Interior makes little sense. Instead of looking for ways to responsibly increase the amount of oil and natural gas the United States produces from our nation’s onshore and offshore federal lands, the Biden Administration continues to rely on tired arguments that do not tell the true story of mineral development on America’s federal lands.

“Independent oil and natural gas producers are committed to responsibly producing oil and natural gas from federal lands. We will continue to work with the federal government, state, and local officials to allow America’s oil and natural gas explorers and producers to continue to provide the resources Americans need. Today’s report is another example of the Biden Administration missing the mark on addressing the energy needs of our nation.”

Western Energy Alliance:

“You know there’s something wrong with a policy when it’s released on a Friday, and even more so when it’s a holiday weekend. … While President Biden is urging Russia and OPEC to increase production, the Interior Department is erecting roadblocks to American production. Oil and natural gas from federal lands is among the most sustainably produced in the world, and certainly cleaner than the oil produced in Russia. Besides the stricter environmental controls on public lands, producers agree to extra measures to protect wildlife, reduce emissions, reduce water use, and ensure stewardship of the land.”

American Petroleum Institute:

“The Biden Administration is sending mixed signals. Days after a public speech in which the White House said the president ‘is using every tool available to him to work to lower prices and address the lack of supply,’ his Interior Department proposed to increase costs on American energy development with no clear roadmap for the future of federal leasing.”

American Exploration & Production Council:

“First and foremost, the Administration should support the production of oil and natural gas from federal lands and waters, as it accounts for about 20 percent of domestic production – playing a significant role in energy security and affordable energy prices.

“Arbitrary leasing or permitting restrictions only serve to cause uncertainty for American businesses and strained budgets for state and federal governments as well as local communities.  We appreciate where this report recognizes the positive contribution that our industry makes to the country and look forward to working with the Administration to build on our environmental and economic progress together.”

New Mexico Oil & Gas Association:

“As the United States experiences a growing energy crisis, the Biden administration continues to pursue troubling policies for all American households and especially the men and women of our industry who work every day to provide our country with the oil and natural gas needed for daily life. While the White House has begged OPEC to increase its output, thousands of New Mexicans stand ready and willing to do their jobs right here, right now. Addressing climate change is and should be a priority. Policies that push production and jobs to countries with minimal environmental safeguards are little more than virtue signals that only punish safe, responsible energy production in New Mexico and other western states.”

Petroleum Association of Wyoming:

“When the government quietly releases a ‘significant’ report the day after Thanksgiving, you can be sure of two things: they are embarrassed by what it says, and they hope no one will read it. Embarrassed they should be. As fuel prices continue to rise, the Biden Administration’s solution is to increase the cost of production, build more barriers to Wyoming’s development and choke off exploration of new reserves. No wonder they don’t want anyone to read the report.”

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