Biden Calls for Higher Drilling Fees in Review of Federal Oil, Gas Leasing Program

The Interior Department report said the current federal oil and gas leasing program “falls short of serving the public interest” and called for new rules to boost royalty rates, bonding rates and other fees for producers.

Jarrett Renshaw, Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom, Reuters

The Biden administration proposed a slew of changes on Nov. 26 to the nation’s federal oil and gas leasing program, including hiking fees on drilling companies and limiting their access to sensitive wildlife and cultural zones.

The recommendations followed a months-long review aimed at ensuring drilling on federal lands and waters benefits the public. But in a sign of the extreme controversy surrounding the issue, environmental groups slammed the proposals as too weak and the industry criticized them as too harsh.

President Joe Biden’s administration launched the review earlier this year in what had widely been seen as a step toward delivering on his election campaign promise to end new fossil fuel drilling on federal acreage to fight climate change.

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