DENVER – Western Energy Alliance submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding a proposed ten-mile zone around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park that would prevent oil and natural gas leasing in the area for the next 20 years. The Alliance’s comments on BLM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) stressed the severe economic impact to members of the Navajo Nation who own energy resources and urged the agency to accept the Tribe’s compromise of a five-mile buffer zone.
According to an analysis by Enduring Resources (contained in the docket), the withdrawal would prevent 233 horizontal wells and the production of 86 million barrels of oil and 25.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas, costing the federal government $51 million annually in lost royalties, or $1 billion over 20 years. Navajo mineral owners would lose an estimated $194.3 million over that 20-year period.
DENVER – Today, Western Energy Alliance and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW) filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of the Interior’s failure to hold oil and natural gas lease sales in the third quarter of 2022 as required under the Mineral Leasing Act. The associations filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming along with the State of Wyoming.
“The Mineral Leasing Act is clear: the Interior Secretary must hold at least quarterly lease sales in every state where there is interest, as reflected by nominations,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “Oil and natural gas companies have nominated millions of acres in Wyoming and across the West that have yet to be offered for sale. Not only has this administration held only one set of lease sales in its first two years, but has now signaled that there will be no sales until second quarter 2023, a full year later. Once a year does not equal ‘quarterly.’ Further, just before Thanksgiving the Interior Department released seven new policies that make it more difficult to lease and produce on public lands. The announcement came just days before the Administration gave the green light to Venezuelan development. Rather than buttressing up dictators, President Biden could tell his agencies to back off increasing red tape meant to suppress American production so that we can do more to reduce high energy prices for the country and the world.”