(Cheyenne, WY) – Governor Mark Gordon has responded forcefully to Friday’s release of the Department of the Interior’s report on federal oil and gas leasing and permitting. The Governor noted that this unnecessary review was used as an excuse for the Biden Administration’s illegal moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands. The Governor’s full statement follows:
The Biden Administration’s long-awaited review, released quietly the day after Thanksgiving, lacks merit and is a frontal assault on Western lands that leaves nothing to be thankful for. The report encourages increasing the cost of producing oil and gas in Wyoming by hiking the royalty rate, taking more areas off the table for federal leasing, and increasing the costs of bonding. None of these options are wise or necessary for Wyoming.
Wyoming is not over-leased. In fact, only 23% of the total mineral acreage held by the Federal Government is leased. With our state’s oil and gas industry just showing signs of recovery, this is the worst time to needlessly increase expenses such as jacking up royalty rates or instituting higher bond requirements. Wyoming already has an industry-funded, successful plugging and abandonment program. While we are asking our enemies to produce more oil, under less stringent regulations and drain our own national security reserves, further weakening our economy, we need to remember that the only result of the President’s actions will be driving more activity to foreign countries and to states with fewer federal lands and minerals.
Instead of selling energy to our allies, as we used to, this administration wants to make us more dependent on our adversaries. And for what? We can do more to reduce CO2 emissions by innovating new technologies that improve our standard of living than regulating into oblivion. Any potential modifications to the oil and gas leasing program identified by this review could have been brought forward without the illegal and devastating moratorium. As I have stated on multiple occasions to the Biden administration, the leasing moratorium does nothing to achieve their climate agenda.