A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Onshore Oil & Gas Lease Sales Garner $256 Million for American Taxpayers in 2011
Sale revenue up 20% over 2010; 32 additional sales set for this year
WASHINGTON – Following a strong year in which leasing reform helped to lower protests and increase revenue from onshore oil and gas lease sales on public lands – resulting in a 20 percent increase in lease sale revenues over 2010 – the Interior Department will hold 32 additional sales in calendar year 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today.
During calendar year 2011, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held 32 onshore oil and gas lease sales, offering 1,755 parcels of land covering nearly 4.4 million acres. 1,296 parcels of land were sold – nearly three-quarters of those offered – generating about $256 million in revenue for American taxpayers.
“This is an example of the power of a common-sense approach to growing America's energy economy on public lands,” said Secretary Salazar. “The Obama Administration is moving ahead with a comprehensive energy plan for the country that is enhancing our energy security, creating jobs, and improving protections for our land, water and wildlife. Oil, gas, and coal continue to play an important part of our energy portfolio as we take steps to further reduce our dependence on foreign oil and expand the use of wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable resources.”
The 2011 lease sale figures are 20 percent higher than those in calendar year 2010, when 1,090 parcels sold, generating about $213 million. The largest sale in 2011 was the BLM's July 12 auction in Billings, Mont., where 111 parcels covering 32,180 acres of public land (19,292 acres in North Dakota; 12,788 acres in South Dakota) brought in more than $66 million.
The BLM's 32 oil and natural gas lease sales in calendar year 2012 will offer thousands of parcels in California, Colorado, the Eastern States, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. The BLM conducts sales based on nominations received from industry that are evaluated to determine eligibility and availability for leasing before being delineated into individual parcels.
Today's announcement reflects the Obama administration's efforts to increase certainty for industry by reducing the conflict, litigation, and protests that have tied the nation's oil and gas leasing program in knots for years.
When Secretary Salazar took office in January 2009, nearly half of parcels offered by the BLM for oil and gas development were protested, resulting in delays, extra costs, and court battles. By contrast, only 1 percent of leases were protested in 1998.
In response to this gridlock, in May of 2010, Secretary Salazar and Director Abbey undertook commonsense reforms to the leasing program that have resulted in fewer protests.
Since the reforms' implementation, the number of protests has declined and the protests that are received can now be resolved more quickly. In fiscal year 2011, 36 percent of BLM's oil and gas leases were protested – down from 47 percent in 2009.
These leasing reforms established a more orderly, open, and environmentally sound process for developing oil and gas resources on public lands. In an effort to reduce protests, the BLM is conducting planning, engaging the public, and evaluating environmental concerns earlier in the process. In areas where significant new oil and gas development is anticipated, the BLM now works with the public to develop Master Leasing Plans that help guide industry to lower-conflict areas for development.
“This year's successful lease sales reflect this administration's commitment to balanced and responsible development of America's conventional and renewable energy resources,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “Our leasing policies ensure protection of important natural resources on BLM-managed lands, while at the same time aiding in orderly development of oil and natural gas deposits and reducing our dependence on imported oil.”
2012 Calendar Year Oil and Gas Lease Sale Schedule Subject to Change Without Notice Check State Office Website Prior to Sale Date