Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Natural Gas from Federal Lands Hits Reported Record High

Energy
Natural Gas from Federal Lands Hits Reported Record High

The Wilderness Society

Recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) undercuts the oil and gas industry’s public relations campaign urging for more drilling and less safeguards on public lands. The data from the BLM shows a reported record amount of natural gas production, millions of acres held by leases that are not being produced, and thousands of unused drilling permits—dispelling the notion that America must leave more of its public lands open to drilling.

“Unfortunately for the oil and gas industry’s hundred-million-dollar PR blitz, the facts tell a different story,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior energy policy advisor for The Wilderness Society.

“We’ve seen reported record production of natural gas and billions of dollars in profits for the oil and gas industry, and at the same time we’re seeing unused drilling permits all across the West and tens of millions of acres of unused federal leases. How can the industry say they’re being locked out in the face of this new information?”

The BLM’s 2011 Oil & Gas Statistics report shows a record high amount of natural gas extracted from federal leases, more than 5.3 million cubic feet—nearly double the highest total ever recorded by the BLM since they began keeping records in 1984. The agency’s records show an increase in leasing of federal acres—up to more than 2 million acres in fiscal year (FY) 2011, from less than 1.4 million acres in FY 2010. The number of leases also increased, to 2,188 in FY 2011 from 1,308 in FY 2010.

Further, oil and gas companies still have a large number of unused drilling permits—the “green light” to start a well. In June of 2010 BLM reported more than 7,000 approved but unused federal drilling permits—the data released Jan. 5 shows that the industry continues to acquire permits they are not using.  In FY 2010, 1,400 wells were drilled despite more than 4,000 drilling permits issued—in FY 2011 that number went to 3,260 wells drilled while 4,244 were issued.

“The bottom line is that the industry is making billions of dollars and has enough leases and permits to produce record amounts of natural gas from our federal lands. They are sitting on tens of millions of acres of unused federal leases and thousands of unused federal drilling permits. We can continue to permit oil and gas development in a responsible manner that also safeguards our wild places,” said Nada Culver, senior director of agency policy.

For more information, click here.

Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth on April 2, 2012 in Western Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty Images News

By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge

In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

Trending

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less
New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less