Republicans react to Biden’s proposed rule on public lands leasing

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 3:52 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KUMV) - The Biden Administration is proposing a new rule impacting oil and gas leasing regulations on public lands.

The Department of the Interior said this month it would revise fiscal terms for bonding requirements, royalty rates, and minimum bids. These changes include increasing minimum bids from $2 per acre to $10 per acre and increasing royalty rates for oil drilling from 12.5 percent to 16.67 percent. The proposed rule codifies provisions made in the Inflation Reduction Act last year.

“This proposal to update BLM’s oil and gas program aims to ensure fairness to the taxpayer and balanced, responsible development as we continue to transition to a clean energy economy. It includes common sense and needed fiscal revisions to BLM’s program, many directed by Congress,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, Bureau of Land Management Director.

Speaking at a Senate Leadership press conference, Sen. Steve Daines, R-MT, said these increased costs would end up being passed to consumers.

“Once again, this administration has shown us where their loyalty lies. It’s with radical environmentalists, instead of with Montanans and with American energy producers,” said Daines.

Daines said it’s predicted that these new fees would add up to nearly $2 billion from now until 2031.

On Wednesday, Sen. John Hoeven called the regulations burdensome and a threat to the economy and national security.

“Won’t this new regulation further hurt our ability to produce energy in this country versus getting it from other countries who may be hostile to our interests and have much worse environmental stewardship,” Hoeven asked during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Hoeven said he is working on advancing legislation to reform federal permitting and improve domestic energy production.

A release from the DOI said federal onshore oil and gas royalty rates haven’t been raised in over a century and are consistently lower than state-issued leases. The department said minimum bids and rents have also remained the same for more than 30 years.