New Interior drilling order a ‘pointless giveaway’ to special interests

Zinke move a favor to oil and gas companies that already have vast access to drill public lands
By: 
Chris Saeger
Executive Director Western Values Project, chris@westernvaluesproject.org

In response to the recent announcement of a secretarial order to expand access for oil companies to drill on public lands, Executive Director of the Western Values Project Chris Saeger released the following statement: 
“The only people who think oil and gas companies don’t have enough public land to drill are oil and gas companies and the politicians they bought. With historically low gas prices, these companies aren’t using millions of acres of leases they already have, so there’s no reason to hand over even more.”
“Secretary Zinke’s expedited permitting is nothing but a way for the special interests that bankrolled his career to increase profits. Western communities and economies will pay the price for this pointless giveaway through less access to public land.“
Between 2008 and 2015 oil production on public lands increased by 77%, according to the Bureau of Land Management’s own Office of Natural Resources Revenue. Besides that, industry currently holds the right to drill on vast amounts of American land, but are not taking advantage due to historically low oil prices. A few important facts to consider:
• Oil companies voluntarily passed on over 22 million acres of oil and gas leases offered for sale by BLM between 2009 and 2016.
• Almost 7,000 fewer drilling permits were requested between 2013 and 2015 than between 2007 and 2009.
• These companies have stubbornly refused to use the millions of acres of leases and thousands of drilling permits they already own.

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