Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is facing new questions about her decision to withdraw land from oil and natural gas leasing around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. An ethics complaint was filed against the secretary by the watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust, which requested that the Department of the Interior (DOI) investigate several public statements and actions that made clear Secretary Haaland’s decision was pre-determined.
We’re experiencing an onslaught of new regulations targeting oil and natural gas production from the Biden Administration. No sooner did we get our comments out the door on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) conservation and landscape health rule then the next BLM rule dropped. The recently proposed bonding and royalties rule aims to implement royalty and other fee increases from the inaptly named Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), but more concerningly, add new bonding requirements that Congress jettisoned from IRA.
Despite the fact that there are only 37 orphan wells on BLM lands and only 40 calls on bonds over the last decade, the rule plows ahead with essentially what anti-oil-and-gas groups have been pushing for: the disruption of the bond market for oil and natural gas by increasing bonds to prohibitive levels, particularly for small companies.