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New Bills Seek to Penalize Public Participation in Leasing and Drilling Decisions on Public Lands

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New Bills Seek to Penalize Public Participation in Leasing and Drilling Decisions on Public Lands

Wilderness Society

Four bills that will likely pass the House Natural Resources Committee will cause more problems than they solve, according to The Wilderness Society.

“These bills are solutions looking for a problem—and cause more problems than they solve,” said Dave Alberswerth, senior legislative advisor. “The way that these bills seek to limit the American public’s participation in drilling decisions that could affect their lives and livelihoods is especially concerning.”

The bills (H.R. 4381, H.R. 4382, H.R. 4383, and H.R. 3973) minimize, eliminate and penalize public participation in leasing and drilling decisions on our public lands. H.R. 4383, for example, would impose a $5,000 penalty to any group or individual that challenges a drilling permit in court.  H.R. 4382 would prohibit public reviews of lease sales, and disallow new information to change a leasing decision.

“The bills try to open more lands and give more permits to the oil industry, when they aren’t using the ones they have,” said Alberswerth. 

“The oil industry is sitting on more than 7,000 approved but unused federal drilling permits, and more than 20 million acres they’ve leased are sitting idle.”

“The problem isn’t on federal government’s end. If the oil industry wants to be drilling more on public lands, they have the leases and permits they need," Alberswerth said.

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