Responsible Energy Development in the Pawnee National Grasslands

October 20, 2014

(DENVER) - Today, Western Energy Alliance submitted comments on the Pawnee National Grasslands Oil and Gas Leasing Analysis. The Forest Service has developed a plan to enable responsible oil and natural gas development while minimizing surface disturbance by not allowing direct surface occupancy in the grasslands. Through the use of horizontal drilling and advanced hydraulic fracturing, industry innovation has significantly reduced impact on the land while enabling the development of affordable energy that powers the American economy. 

“Despite the balance the Forest Service has achieved to enable energy development while minimizing surface impact, some environmental groups are using the release of the Pawnee National Grasslands leasing analysis as another opportunity to promote their anti-fracking agenda,” said Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs. “Companies are able to drill horizontally, combined with hydraulic fracturing, and develop the majority of the energy beneath the grasslands without disturbing the surface. That’s an environmentally responsible way to develop energy while protecting the land. Fracktivists are trying to prevent this balance and keep the energy that all Americans own out of reach. Theirs is an agenda of high energy prices and greater imports from overseas.

“Another advantage of the Forest Service’s balanced leasing analysis is that it will enable development of stranded federal oil and natural gas resources. Currently, companies must specifically avoid pockets of federal minerals surrounded by state and private lands because the Bureau of Land Management cannot offer leases until the EIS is complete. The delay is causing adjacent development to drain federal minerals, and prevents more environmentally friendly consolidated operations. The delays and inefficiencies are reducing revenue to the American taxpayer. The Forest Service has proposed a sensible approach, and should disregard the anti-fracking opportunism.”

The Alliance’s comments are available online