BLM in Wyoming Proposes Oil and Gas Lease Sale in 2023
On Thursday, the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that they're beginning a 30-day scoping period and are requesting public comment on the sale of 251,086 acres of land around the state.
The sale is happening following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by Congress two months ago, which required the lease sale in Wyoming to go forward, along with two other sales in New Mexico and Oklahoma.
This is the second lease sale that could happen in Wyoming following President Joe Biden's executive order that halted any new oil and gas lease sales in the country got overturned last November.
Following that court decision, Wyoming held a sale earlier this year which culminated in June, leading to a sale of $13,021,696 from 119,564.590 acres, compared to the original acreage of 131,389.690.
Biden had originally tried to stop new oil and gas leases due to the impact that drilling has on the environment, but the judge in Louisiana who ruled on the case last November stated that Biden's executive order violated the Mineral Leasing Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Brad Purdy, Deputy State Director of Communications, said that this is the first step in the lease sale process, allowing the public to provide any information about the parcels in question and that the next step would be the release of an environmental assessment.
The IRA also changes the terms for the sales, namely that the minimum bids are $10 per acre, that royalty rates will be 16.67%, and rental rates will be $3 per acre for the first two years, $5 per acre for years three through eight, and $15 per acre in years nine and 10.
The minimum bid, increased by $2 per acre, royalty rates, up from 12.5%, and rental rates, up from $1.5 per acre in the first year and $2 per acre in subsequent years, all increased due to the IRA.
While Democrats and Republicans have both tried to pass some kind of permitting reform bill that would make it easier to approve oil, gas, and renewable energy projects, both efforts have stalled in Congress.
The comment period will last until Nov. 8 and citizens can participate on the BLM website.