BLM Leasing Rule Could Have Significant Impacts on US Oil and Gas Production

WASHINGTON – September 27, 2023 – AXPC submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) outlining concerns that BLM’s “Leasing Rule,” if finalized without significant changes, could affect access to oil and natural gas resources on federally managed onshore lands, thus negatively impacting America’s economy, climate goals, and energy security.

“Oil and natural gas production on public lands provides economic benefits to local communities, states, and the federal government and supports our nation’s energy security. Key provisions of BLM’s proposed ‘Leasing Rule’ circumvent well-established and inclusive planning and environmental review processes,” said AXPC CEO Anne Bradbury. “Restricting our ability to produce oil and natural gas on federal lands also harms environmental goals – as that production would shift to other locations, including in foreign nations without the stringent environmental protections in place on BLM-managed lands.”

AXPC’s comments outline revisions to the proposed rule, with the goal of working with the Agency on a more functional and effective regulation that ensures that public lands can be responsibly utilized for the production of America’s oil and natural gas resources.

AXPC’s comments outline support for parts of the proposal, such as the individual and statewide bonding structure and consideration of drilling permit efficiencies.  AXPC’s comments also explain that many changes included in the leasing rule will have significant negative impacts on member operations, such as:

  • Undermining established land planning processes inclusive of stakeholder interests
  • codifying broad BLM discretion, outside of the public process, to restrict leasing;
  • granting open-ended ability to change lease stipulations even after lease sales; and
  • implementing new fees for routine BLM operations.

Energy development on public lands provides enormous value for the nation. According to Office of Natural Resource Revenue and US Energy Information Administration data, if the BLM managed program was a “country” they would be the 17th largest oil producer in the world and the 11th largest natural gas producer. We produce more oil on federal lands than the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Oman, and Libya; and we produce more natural gas on federal lands than Egypt, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates.

Notwithstanding that energy development activities on public lands account for only about 10 percent of total US domestic production of crude oil and natural gas, revenues from oil and natural gas leases on onshore federal lands exceeded $7.6 billion in fiscal year 2022.  This substantial return for the taxpayer is comprised of royalty payments, bonuses, interest payments on leases, application fees, rents, and other sources.

Significant curtailment of new federal oil and natural gas leasing on public lands will likely only lead to a greater reliance on oil imports and the use of coal abroad, resulting in higher overall emissions impacts – which would be counter to our country’s climate goals.

AXPC’s full comments are available on our website, 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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