You are here

Senate Land Grab Bill Would Lower Energy Production

News Releases

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

Washington, D.C., January 9, 2008—At a time when the federal government faces an array of challenges ranging from a major recession to homeland security and ongoing military commitments abroad, the Democratic leadership of the U.S. Senate has decided to focus first on locking away millions of acres of federal lands from energy and natural resource production.

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (S. 22), sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Harry Reid (D-NV) and originally introduced in the 110th Congress, could be voted on as early as this weekend. The legislation would create or expand over a dozen federal Wilderness Areas, create a whole new category of land lock-ups for the Bureau of Land Management (the so-called National Landscape Conservation System), and threaten private property owners across the country with extremely restrictive land use regulations by designating dozens of new National Trails, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Heritage Areas.

“The Bingaman-Reid bill is full of bad provisions, but the worst are the ones that would prohibit oil and natural gas production on more than a million acres of federal land,” said Myron Ebell, Director of Energy Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Tens of millions of acres of federal lands in the West have already been withdrawn from mineral and energy production. The new Congress should be opening some of these areas, which would help increase domestic energy production and lower prices. Instead, faced with declining natural gas production and potential shortages in the near future, the first bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the Senate to consider would take 1.2 million acres in Wyoming with high natural gas potential out of production.”

Property rights advocates like the Competitive Enterprise Institute have long opposed expanding federal land ownership, in part because of the federal government’s poor track record in managing the lands it already controls. Management strategies adopted by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service have led to destructive wildfires, habitat loss, and the spread of pests and disease in large swaths of forest and range land throughout the Western United States. Over one hundred non-profit groups last November sent a letter to the Senate raising concerns about an earlier incarnation of the current legislation.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.