The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Climate Concerns Delay Onshore Leases

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 12, 2010

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is delaying an April 13 oil and natural gas lease sale covering 91,000 acres in Montana, and North and South Dakota to study energy development's climate impact. The decision follows a legal settlement we mentioned in March, in which environmentalists challenged the lease sale under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

BLM also has suspended 61 Montana leases issued in 2008 to conduct additional environmental studies, including climate reviews. 

Mary Apple, a BLM spokeswoman, told Dow Jones the agency hoped to have the studies completed by September, but she admitted that "we haven't quite figured how" to conduct studies into the potential impact of greenhouse gas emissions from energy development.

API hopes the review can be done quickly and allow the sale to be held later this year. America needs all the domestic energy it can produce to create jobs, generate state, local and federal government revenue and to help power the economic recovery.

Furthermore, API believes that neither NEPA, nor other administrative tools, should be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Using tools that were never intended to regulate greenhouse gases could delay or prevent much-need investment and development.

BLM says the legal settlement might set a precedent for future lease sales across the country.