Rep. Susie Lee Introduces Bicameral Bill to Promote Appropriate Land-Use Management and Protect Nevada Public Lands from Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing

May 4, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Susie Lee (NV-03) introduced the End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act. This bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), would promote more appropriate land-use management by prohibiting oil and gas leasing on public lands that are determined by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to have little to no potential for energy development. The bill would also reprioritize the BLM’s administration of these lands for more appropriate purposes, such as wildlife habitat preservation, outdoor recreation, mining, grazing, and renewable energy development.

“We need to put our public lands back into public hands,” said Rep. Susie Lee. “While over sixty percent of Nevada consists of public lands managed by BLM, there are actually very few productive oil and gas formations. However, the reckless leasing of these lands has led to a number of administrative costs as state and federal agencies are often burdened with the tasks of reviewing dubious proposals, monitoring these leases, and diverting precious limited resources. With this bill, we’ll finally be able to protect our public lands from harmful practices, save taxpayer dollars, and maximize government efficiency.”

“Ending speculative leasing on land with low or no potential for oil and gas production will allow the BLM to spend valuable time and resources elsewhere and manage those lands in ways that put things like conservation and public access for hunting, fishing, and camping first,” said Drew McConville, Senior Managing Director at The Wilderness Society. “We applaud Representative Lee’s legislation and we’re counting on Congress to pass common sense reforms to ensure public lands benefit all people, not just oil and gas companies.”

“We applaud Representative Lee for moving to end excessive and wasteful fossil fuel leasing on public lands for the sole benefit of fossil fuel executives. While these landscapes and waters sit idle in the hands of oil and gas companies, Nevadans and communities across the west are losing out on sustainable economic opportunities,” said Christian Gerlach, Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign. “Public lands provide recreation and tourism income, important wildlife habitat, and priceless natural services like clean air, water and carbon sequestration. This bill is a promising effort to protect our public lands and make these places a part of the climate solution.”

There is no logic in leasing public lands with little to no potential for development to speculators for drilling, especially when those lands are home to wildlife habitat and help support outdoor recreation like hunting,” said Russell Kuhlman, Executive Director, Nevada Wildlife Federation. “I applaud Congresswoman Susie Lee’s efforts to put an end to this wasteful practice. Coupled with its companion in the Senate, this bill is just one way to ensure that the federal oil and gas leasing system works better for public lands, wildlife, hunters, and our communities. I encourage her and her colleagues in Congress to continue to work with the Biden administration, as they review the federal oil and gas leasing system, on efforts to advance these important reforms.” 

“Speculative oil and gas leasing is an unnecessary and wasteful practice that threatens the public lands Latino communities across the West rely on for recreation and connecting with the natural world,” said Maite Arce, President and CEO, Hispanic Access Foundation. “By letting speculators stockpile lands that don’t even have oil underneath them, the outdated federal leasing program does not reflect the modern uses of our public lands. Thankfully, Congresswoman Susie Lee is joining her Senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, in working to ensure this reckless practice comes to its rightful end. I look forward to the day when access to the West’s iconic public lands is never again hindered by speculation and policies that do not serve Latino communities.” 

“Our nation’s public lands, and the people and wildlife who rely on them, face unprecedented challenges,” said Camilla Simon, Executive Director, HECHO (Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors). “Among them is the threat of speculative leasing, a destructive practice that allows oil and gas companies to tie up public lands with little to no potential for development in long-term leases. Speculative leasing not only wastes important government resources, but it also hinders public access to the great outdoors, threatens cultural landmarks, and puts critical wildlife habitats in harm's way. Thankfully, it is not too late to stop this. U.S. Representative Susie Lee’s bill, coupled with Senator Cortez Masto’s companion in the Senate, will finally put an end to speculative leasing and put public lands back into the hands of the people. We strongly support this legislation and encourage Congress to work with the Biden administration in their review of the federal leasing system to ensure it best serves our communities and public lands for generations to come.”  

Endorsing Organizations:

  • Nevada Conservation League (LCV Affiliate)
  • Nevada Wildlife Federation (NWF Affiliate)
  • Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
  • Conservation Lands Foundation
  • Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
  • Earthjustice, Earthworks
  • Friends of Nevada Wilderness
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Hispanic Access Foundation
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Montana Wildlife Federation (NWF Affiliate)
  • National Parks Conservation Association
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • NYU Institute for Policy Integrity
  • Public Lands Solutions
  • Sierra Club
  • Taxpayers for Common Sense
  • The Wilderness Society
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Vet Voice Foundation
  • Western Organization of Resource Councils
  • Western Values Project
  • Wilderness Workshop