Should Congress strengthen protections of public land from oil and gas leasing?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

H.R. 1503 will reform the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas leasing program in the interest of stronger public land protections and increased community input. This legislation includes provisions such as eliminating non-competitive oil and gas leasing sales, reinstating public comment periods, increasing the national minimum bid to $5 per acre, and raising the onshore oil and gas royalty rate to 18.75 percent from 12.5 percent. Sponsor: Representative Mike Levin (Democrat, California, District 49) View full bill text ➔

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Opponents say

•  "Rate increases would have a disproportionate impact on smaller producers and independents. Federal royalty rates are 12.5% on oil and gas production. However, given the significant time and monetary investment to procure a permit from the federal government, the overall costs to drill and develop a well on federal land in New Mexico is considerably higher than it is on State or fee leasehold... America’s energy workers and small businesses do not need Washington declaring war on American energy. I encourage the Committee to not pursue these legislative proposals."  Source: Mark Murphy (Strata Production Company)

•  "The industry is now facing an administration and a Congress who is very much, very aggressively one to alter the landscape for oil and natural gas producers across the country… Congress is getting involved in efforts to really make it difficult for our members, independent producers, but all producers in the United States, oil and natural gas producers, to continue to work and develop what we think is just such a critical resource for the nation and the nation’s economy." Source: Dan Naatz (Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)

Proponents say

•  "Americans have a right to shape how we protect and manage our cherished public lands, and we need to put their priorities first, not the oil and gas industry. The Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas leasing program is in desperate need of reform to strengthen public input in leasing decisions and ensure that taxpayers receive their fair share of royalties for profits made on public lands." Source: Representative Mike Levin (Democrat, California, District 49)

•  "H.R. 1503, The Restoring Community Input and Public Protection in Oil and Gas Leasing Act introduced by Rep Levin, will modernize fiscal policies by eliminating non-competitive leasing, increasing royalty rates, rental fees, and minimum bid amounts. It will also eliminate actions taken by the Trump administration to limit environmental review of oil and gas lease sales and to cut public participation in oil and gas leasing decisions. It is an important step towards preventing future administrations from taking similar actions at the cost of our public lands." Source: Tracy Stone-Manning (Public Lands National Wildlife Federation)