Curtis Tate Published

Feds Taking Public Comment On Oil, Gas Leasing Rules Through Sept. 22

A brown highway sign with white lettering on a hazy August day with green mountain ridges in the background.Curtis Tate/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The federal Bureau of Land Management is taking public comment on new rules for oil and gas leasing on public lands.

The agency has not updated its oil and gas leasing rules in several decades. In the meantime, the cost of remediating and capping abandoned wells has increased.

The agency proposes to adjust fees and bonding requirements to keep up with inflation.

It also wants to take steps to eliminate non-competitive bid leasing and make oil and gas companies responsible for cleanup rather than taxpayers. The agency is spending $250 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to reclaim abandoned wells nationwide.

According to the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, the rules would apply to the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and the Monongahela National Forest.

The public can comment on the proposed rules through Sept. 22.