A global pandemic and rock bottom oil prices won’t stop Donald Trump’s Department of Interior (DOI) from leasing our public land for oil and gas drilling.
Oil prices have plummeted in a historic slide primarily due to the COVID-19 epidemic slowing travel around the world, but also because of a boost in supply from petroleum production in both Saudi Arabia and Russia. These factors are sending oil and gas prices to historic lows.
But despite this, Donald Trump’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within DOI is moving full speed through a pandemic to sell off drilling rights on our public lands. They did so even over the warnings from environmental and taxpayer advocacy groups who used common sense to point out that the land was likely to sell for only pennies due to the historically low oil and gas prices. This means more drilling and less money – it just made zero sense.
And that’s exactly how it played out in the most recent auction this week.
The BLM received bids for drilling rights for only 40% of the 193,584 acres put up for auction. In Wyoming’s auction specifically, 40% of the acreage was sold off at fire sale prices — the legal minimum rate of $2 per acre. And the average price of $46 an acre was less than half of last year’s $100 an acre price.
Despite this embarrassing squandering of potential taxpayer dollars, the BLM has insisted they have no interest in stopping their process of giving away our precious public lands for pennies. We need to stop giving sweetheart deals to oil and gas companies during a global pandemic.