Upon taking office, Mr. Biden issued an executive order calling for a temporary ban on new oil and gas leasing on public lands, which was to remain in place while the Interior Department produced a comprehensive report on the state of the federal oil and gas drilling programs.
The Biden Administration’s Environmental Agenda
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That report, issued in November, recommended an overhaul of the rents and royalty fees charged for drilling both on land and offshore. The report noted one estimate that the government had lost up to $12.4 billion in revenue from drilling on federal lands from 2010 through 2019 because royalty rates have been frozen for a century.
In opening up the new public lands for oil and gas permitting, the Interior Department will raise the royalty rates that companies must pay to the federal government from 12.5 percent of their profits to 18.75 percent, an increase that could bring in billions of dollars of new revenue.
“For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of tribal nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “Today, we begin to reset how and what we consider to be the highest and best use of Americans’ resources for the benefit of all current and future generations.”