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STATEMENT: CAP’s Nicole Gentile Praises Bill To End Noncompetitive Leasing, Close Industry Loopholes

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) introduced a bill that would end the government’s noncompetitive oil and gas leasing program. The harmful and wasteful practice lets companies stockpile public land at rock-bottom prices—often without public scrutiny.

Co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), the Competitive Onshore Mineral Policy via Eliminating Taxpayer-Enabled Speculation (COMPETES) Act would create a more streamlined, efficient leasing system by requiring all oil and gas lease sales on public lands to be issued through a fair competitive process. In response, Nicole Gentile, senior director for Public Lands at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The entire federal oil and gas leasing program is broken and doesn’t work for anyone other than oil and gas industry CEOs. But the noncompetitive leasing process is the true bargain bin of the oil and gas leasing world. Without public scrutiny or a competitive process, for a nominal administrative fee and just $1.50 per acre in rent, oil and gas companies can scoop up taxpayer-owned public lands to pad their bottom lines. We applaud Sen. Hickenlooper for trying to end this rigged and unnecessary process once and for all. Congress should prioritize including this commonsense policy in the budget reconciliation process.

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