United States

US authorities intend to raise costs to extract oil and gas on public lands

17:39, 27 November 2021
US authorities intend to raise costs to extract oil and gas on public lands Photo: pixabay.com

According to President Biden’s administration, the move aims at ensuring a better management of public wealth and responding to environmental issues.

The Biden administration is seeking to pass reforms concerning the US oil and gas leasing program which imply increasing costs for companies to drill on public lands and water.

The Interior Department has earlier released a report in which it called to modify the leasing program to get more revenue which will be put into environmental and social reforms including saving wildlife, cultural and recreation spots. It has also promoted the idea of transferring the leasing activity to areas further from public use and with better-researched potentials.

“Our nation faces a profound climate crisis that is impacting every American. The Interior Department has an obligation to responsibly manage our public lands and waters, providing a fair return to the taxpayer and mitigating worsening climate impacts,” Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

The official has not specified how much the leasing rates will increase. The royalty rate has made 12.5% since it was first introduced in 1920; the number which does not comply with modern times and fails to represent a fair return to US citizens, the Department added.

According to environmental organizations, drilling on public lands makes around 25% of the US greenhouse emissions. They have also blamed the administration for publishing the report during the Thanksgiving holidays to draw less public attention.

“Releasing this completely inadequate report over a long holiday weekend is a shameful attempt to hide the fact that President Biden has no intention of fulfilling his promise to stop oil and gas drilling on our public lands,” head of the Food & Water Watch organization Mitch Jones said.

The report appears days after US President Biden ordered to release 50 million barrels of oil to lower energy costs.