Resolution Concerning Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands

Resolution Concerning Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands

WHEREAS, the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947 give the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responsibility for oil and gas leasing on about 564 million acres of BLM, national forest, and other Federal lands, as well as State and private surface lands where mineral rights have been retained by the Federal Government.

WHEREAS, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 charged the BLM with “manag[ing] public land resources for a variety of uses, such as energy development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting, while protecting a wide array of natural, cultural, and historical resources.”

WHEREAS, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires all federal agencies to evaluate the potential environmental effects of proposed development on public lands.

WHEREAS, the NEPA process has grown increasingly complex, leading to lengthy project delays from endless environmental reviews and legal challenges, which result in lost opportunities to create jobs and grow the economy.

WHEREAS, the federal NEPA development process requires producers to run the gauntlet of a dozen or more separate agency reviews and approvals, a process plagued by a lack of coordination, few deadlines, insufficient transparency, and litigation exposure that can require up to six years to secure all required approvals.

WHEREAS, polls show solid majorities of Americans support the exploration and production of oil and gas on public lands, and a majority also support reducing bureaucratic obstacles to drilling for oil and gas.

WHEREAS, oil production in the United States has increased nearly 40 percent, more than two million barrels per day in the past five years, but nearly all of the increase is attributable to oil plays on non-federal lands.

WHEREAS, natural gas production in the United States overall has dramatically increased each year since 2009, while production on public lands has declined each year over the same period.

WHEREAS, oil and natural gas production on federal lands is down over 40 percent compared to ten years ago.

WHEREAS, in FY 1988 over 12 million acres of federal land were under lease, and in FY 2012 fewer than 2 million acres were under lease.

WHEREAS, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 sought to streamline the process of applications for permits to drill (APDs), but the time for approval has increased. In 2006, it took an average of 218 days for all parties to process an APD and later, an average of 307 days in 2011.[1]

WHEREAS, opening more federal land to drilling could be an economic boon for States in the West. Proposed projects in Wyoming outstanding as of January 1, 2012 could create 58,480 jobs, $14.8 billion in economic impact, and $82.5 million in government revenue annually. Similarly, proposed projects in Utah outstanding as of January 1, 2012 could create 62,425 jobs, $12.7 billion in economic impact, and $56.7 million in government revenue annually.[2]

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of {state} calls upon the Bureau of Land Management to expedite approval of existing oil and gas development and permitting requests on public lands.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of {state} urges the United States Congress to pass legislation to further streamline the NEPA process.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Secretary of the Interior, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of the congressional delegation of {state}.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors July 1, 2014.


[1] “U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas,” Congressional Research Service, March 7, 2013.

[2] “Executive Summary Economic Impacts of Oil & Gas Development on Federal Lands in the West,” Western Energy Alliance, April 2012.

Keyword Tags: 2014 STFS, Energy Environment and Agriculture Task Force