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Nevadans Call on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to Reform Federal Oil and Gas Leasing System

Nevada Conservation League delivered 120 petition signatures to urge the Department of the Interior to move forward with key reforms left out of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)

Washington, D.C — Today, the Nevada Conservation League delivered 120 petition signatures to Secretary Haaland in support of oil and gas reforms that protect public lands, wildlife, and taxpayers. While the Inflation Reduction Act included some major reforms, like putting an end to noncompetitive leasing and updating fiscal terms, the legislation left out necessary reforms to update bonding rates and end speculative leasing. 

Lease sales have already been announced in Nevada with nearly 10,000 acres up for bidding, and another 63,000 acres proposed for Q3 of this year. Without a federal rulemaking, these sales will be carried out under a system that even the Department of the Interior (DOI) has acknowledged is broken, and allow oil and gas corporations to skirt cleanup responsibilities, place the financial burden on taxpayers, and lock up public lands that could be managed for conservation and wildlife habitat. 

“We’re long past due on these reforms,” said Paul Selberg, Executive Director of the Nevada Conservation League. “In Nevada, oil and gas corporations own hundreds of thousands of acres that are sitting idle instead of being prioritized for the protection of our wildlife, water, and lands. The IRA was a strong first step, but we need Secretary Haaland to finish the job and finalize key reforms through a federal rulemaking.”

Below is an excerpt from the organization’s petition:

“Already, oil and gas companies are abandoning thousands of wells on public lands after drilling without cleaning them up and sticking taxpayers with the bill because of grossly outdated bonding rates that simply don’t cover the actual costs of clean up. Any new leasing that takes place before reforms are made will only make this orphaned well crisis worse – threatening communities’ clean water and air and putting our public lands and wildlife at dire risk.

“DOI has a mandate to protect America’s public lands and cultural heritage; new, durable rules are long overdue and desperately needed to ensure the program better serves everyone, not just oil and gas CEOs.”

Lease sales are also set to begin in May in Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Louisiana

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