Biden admin. wants to stop oil drilling on 1.6 million acres

August 5, 2023
Robert Ayers

The administration of President Joe Biden has put forth a proposal that would prevent oil drilling from taking place on roughly 1.6 million acres of land in Colorado. 

Biden's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) put forth the proposal on Thursday.

It can be read in its entirety here.

The details of the proposal have been outline by E&E News.

A reduction of roughly 600 wells

The outlet reports that "the proposal involves BLM lands and subsurface mineral estate in the Colorado River Valley and the Grand Junction field offices that stretch across seven counties."

Altogether, E&E reports that this adds up to about 1.6 million acres - that is, new oil and gas leasing across about 1.6 million acres would be barred. To put the matter in different terms, the number of oil wells would be reduced by about 600 over the next two decades.

The proposal, E&E reports, specifically states that it will stop oil drilling from taking place in two categories of land: lands with 'no-known, low, or medium' oil potential and lands that are striking for their wildlife, conservation, or wilderness values.

E&E reports, "In practice, that would mean closing 80% of the lands in the decision area managed by the Colorado River Valley Field Office to new oil leasing and 81% of the Grand Junction Field Office’s lands."

Currently, both the decision areas of the Colorado River Valley Field Office and the Grand Junction Field Office are mostly open for oil and gas drilling leases. So, this is a huge change.

The "why?"

As for why Biden is doing this, Fox News reports that the proposal is part of the Biden administration's attempt to settle several lawsuits that it has faced from environmental groups.

Per the outlet:

BLM's proposal comes after years of legal challenges spearheaded by several environmental groups that argued the federal government failed to take climate change and greenhouse gas emissions into consideration when formulating its resource management plans, which are issued by field offices to outline how they will manage designated lands for the next 20 years.

Fox goes on to note that the lawsuits came after the administration of former President Barack Obama put forth plans for the Grand Junction Field Office and Colorado River Valley field offices that opened up land for oil and gas leasing.

Western Energy Alliance is among those who have blasted the Biden administration's proposal.

The group is arguing that this proposal is the administration's latest targeting of domestic energy production.

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