Copy

Locking up land, ripping off taxpayers

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2020
BLM California

A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that the Bureau of Land Management’s longstanding practice of noncompetitive leasing has let oil and gas companies lock up millions of acres of public land while taxpayers receive almost nothing in return.

The GAO analysis found that nearly 99% of noncompetitive leases sold between 2003 and 2009 never produced oil during the 10-year primary term of the lease—blocking those public lands from other uses while bringing in just $1.50 an acre for taxpayers. By comparison, more than a quarter of leases that sold in competitive bidding with bonus bids above $100 per acre ended up producing oil and gas during the 10-year lease term.

Those noncompetitive lease practices are in play this week, as the Trump administration rushes to lease more than 4,100 acres in California today. On Tuesday, BLM held a lease sale in Utah that offered nearly 24,000 acres of public land. Just 18 percent of that received a bid, which leaves nearly 20,000 acres still available to oil companies for $1.50 an acre.

A bill to eliminate noncompetitive leasing and modernize lease terms passed the House Natural Resources Committee in September, but has not received a vote in the full House.

Quick hits

What Biden’s Agriculture Department can do on climate change

Washington Post

Two from New Mexico in the running to become first Native American cabinet secretary

Santa Fe New Mexican

The Trump administration’s environmental legacy can be reversed—here's how

Popular Science

Climate change and the coal industry blamed as springs on Hopi land dry up

Arizona Republic

After running on conservation, Montana Governor-elect hires pipeline lobbyist as natural resource advisor

Missoula Current

Dozens of Trump loyalists “burrowing” into career jobs in waning days of administration

E&E News

BLM rounds up feral cattle in Arizona after lawsuit, habitat damage along Verde River

Arizona Republic

Ryan Zinke unveils official portrait featuring Bears Ears—the monument he shrunk—and possibly a backwards hat

Earther | Jezebel | The Hill

Quote of the day
 More than thirty million acres of land were locked up by noncompetitive leasing that would have been better used for renewable energy development, public recreation, protection and conservation, or even not used for anything. Any of these would have been a better investment to the American taxpayers.” 
Picture this

@usfws

The federally endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat is only found in grasslands of two Southern California counties. These nocturnal rodents travel mostly using their large hind limbs to hop around; also referred to as saltatory locomotion.

📷Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS
Twitter
Facebook
Medium
Instagram
Copyright © 2020 Center for Western Priorities, All rights reserved.

View this on the web

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list