Statement: Bill Would End Big Oil Speculation on Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) introduced the Competitive Onshore Mineral Policy via Eliminating Taxpayer-Enabled Speculation (COMPETES) Act that would prohibit oil companies from leasing public lands without placing a competitive bid, a wasteful, century-old process that has encouraged speculation at taxpayers’ expense. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement:

“The U.S. government has long engaged in the indefensible practice of allowing fossil fuel companies to lease public lands for drilling without properly compensating taxpayers. Shockingly, these oil leases allow planet-destroying fossil fuel corporations to evade making a competitive bid to exploit the public’s property at rock-bottom prices. This practice fails to ensure that taxpayers receive fair returns on publicly owned resources and imperils efforts to preserve public lands for the common good.

“This commonsense legislation ends a dubious practice that makes it far too difficult for the federal government to preserve these lands for conservation, recreation and wildlife habitat. This important legislation highlights how the federal government’s oil and gas program has put polluters over the public and why it must be reformed.”