BLM Public Lands Rule Exceeds Agency’s Authority, Could Restrict Domestic Oil and Gas Production

WASHINGTON –  AXPC submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) outlining concerns that BLM’s “Public Lands Rule,” if finalized without significant changes, will restrict the productive uses of the public lands that Congress expressly designated for those uses, including the development of oil and natural gas resources.  

“American oil and gas producers strongly support conservation and are responsible stewards of lands within our care,” said AXPC CEO Anne Bradbury. “Energy production on public lands provides enormous value to our nation in terms of energy security and annual revenues that directly benefit the American people. BLM’s proposed ‘Public Lands Rule’ represents a radical shift in the way public lands are managed and if finalized without changes, could restrict production, raise energy costs, and hurt our national security.”  

Through several statutes, Congress directed BLM to manage public lands in a way to facilitate and prioritize certain productive uses and gave the agency mechanisms to ensure that public lands can also be responsibly conserved. Conversely, other public lands, such as those managed as National Parks are not subject to the same multiple-use mandate established for lands managed by BLM.   

The BLM proposal would apply an entirely different management structure than what Congress decreed and circumvents Congressional intent and statutory directives by trying to redesign, through regulation, BLM’s public lands management framework. 

 AXPC’s comments explain that BLM’s proposed rule:  

  • Undermines current law, which could make it harder for the American people to utilize the public land that BLM oversees. 
  • Takes an unnecessarily narrow view on how best to achieve conservation goals on the landscape, while also hurting our ability to utilize domestic resources, which contributes to rising energy costs. 
  • Frustrates the very activities that often fund and facilitate local communities and conservation partnerships and instead be used to circumvent Congress to set additional lands aside from multiple uses.    
  • Reduces domestic production, which will increase costs to households. 

According to the Congressional Research Service, production of oil and natural gas from onshore federal lands represents about 10 percent of total domestic oil production and about 10 percent of domestic natural gas production.  This equates to more crude oil production than the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Oman and Libya.  Similarly, this amount of natural gas production exceeds that of Egypt, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, and United Arab Emirates. 

Restrictions that would reduce oil and natural gas production on BLM-managed lands could have a profoundly negative impact on the economy and curtail the $4.2 billion in annual revenue from royalty payments, bonuses, interest payments on leases, and fees that results from this production – and directly benefits the American people.   

AXPC’s full comments can be found here 

About the American Exploration and Production Council:
AXPC is a national trade association representing leading independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. We lead the world in the cleanest and safest onshore production of oil and gas, while supporting millions of Americans in high-paying jobs and investing a wealth of resources in our communities. Learn more at  


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