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Biden administration will open more public land to oil drilling

Interior Department says it will “focus on highest and best use of America’s public lands."

Published: April 16, 2022 2:05pm

Updated: April 16, 2022 2:06pm

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would move to open more public land to drilling by oil companies, a measure that comes as high gas prices continue to wreak havoc throughout much of the country.

The U.S. Department of the Interior said in a press release on Friday that it was “taking action” as part of a “balanced approach to energy development and management of our nation’s public lands.”

“Today the Department announced that the Bureau of Land Management … will post notices for significantly reformed onshore lease sales,” the release said, claiming that the new measures “prioritize the American people’s interests in public lands and moves forward with addressing deficiencies in the federal oil and gas leasing program.”

The Bureau of Land Management next week will “issue final environmental assessments and sale notices for upcoming oil and gas lease sales that reflect this strategic approach,” the department said. 

The bureau claims it has analyzed “potentially available and eligible acreage in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.”

High gas prices have ushered in a round of bitter finger-pointing between consumers, oil and gas companies and the federal government as to who is ultimately to blame for the rising prices at the pump. 

Fossil fuel concerns have blamed the federal government for allegedly withholding drilling leases and permits from oil corporations. The federal government, meanwhile, has claimed that oil companies are not acting quickly on existing leases. Consumers have broadly blamed both parties for the high prices. 

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