The Biden Administration has announced it is resuming the sales of public land for oil and gas drilling in the country.
The US Department of the Interior said around 144,000 acres of public land will be put up for sale this week, marking the end of a moratorium on new leases that was previously imposed by President Joe Biden.
The new leases will charge higher royalty payments from oil and gas producers, rising to 18.75% from 12.5%, marking the first increase to royalties for the federal government since they were imposed in the 1920s.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will issue final environmental assessments and sale notices for upcoming oil and gas lease sales today, with the amount of land being offered is an 80% reduction from the acreage originally being considered for leasing.
It reduced the amount of land being offered after “robust environmental review” and engagement with Native tribes and local communities.
The BLM will focus on offering new leases near existing oil and gas infrastructure and will continue to disclose greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the drilling.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said: “How we manage our public lands and waters says everything about what we value as a nation. For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programmes have prioritised the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations and moreover, other uses of our shared public lands.
“Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations.”