CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s delegates in the United States Congress want to ensure that delays to the oil and gas lease permitting process do not continue.
“U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., asked the Department of the Interior (DOI) what steps it was taking to ensure that future development on federal oil and gas leases in Wyoming are allowed to continue without interruption,” a Monday, Aug. 19 press release from the Wyoming Delegation states.
A March 20 “Wild Earth Guardians v. Zinke” court decision “halted drill permitting on Wyoming oil and gas leases.”
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A federal district court judge issued a decision that the Bureau of Land Management “did not adequately complete climate reviews for a series of Obama-era oil and gas lease sales,” according to the delegation.
“The court remanded the issue back to the BLM and said that the BLM must complete a more robust environmental analysis to predict greenhouse gas emissions linked to drilling and downstream uses of the oil and gas from Wyoming leases,” the release states.
The delegation penned a letter to the Department of the Interior to “work fervently” to ensure that environmental regulations required for permitting are met.
They also urged the department to appeal the court decision “if necessary to establish a clear standard regarding greenhouse gas analyses in environmental reviews.”
“’Energy development is the backbone of Wyoming’s economy, and our state is a top-ten producer of oil and natural gas,’ the Wyoming delegation wrote. ‘Given that the federal government manages nearly half of Wyoming’s lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plays a large role in Wyoming’s energy economy.’”
The delegation also said that they were concerned that environmental groups bringing such cases to court are motivated to “end all oil and gas development.”
“’We are also concerned these groups will continue to pursue litigation without resolution,’ the delegation wrote. ‘It is imperative that DOI continue to expeditiously and thoroughly complete its analyses, and see these matters to completion so final decisions are attained.’”
The full letter can be accessed online.