DOI plans fossil fuel forum for March 25

SUBLETTE COUNTY – The Department of the Interior announced a virtual forum set for Thursday, March 25, as part of its “comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program called for in Executive Order 14008.”

The DOI statement reflects a shift in priorities from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, from opening millions of public-land acres for new lease sales under Trump to reforming the country’s fossil fuel industries.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and others whose states have large portions of public land and reliance on oil and gas are strongly protesting the current moratorium on the West’s new permits for the oil and gas industry.

This is the first clear statement about what steps the Biden administration plans to make during its review of traditional policies built around fossil fuels. The forum will be live-streamed and the DOI is also reaching out to members of Congress, governors, tribes and local elected leaders, it says.

The daylong forum will feature several panels for perspectives from industry, labor and environmental groups, natural resource advocates “and other experts.”

“Multiple bills in Congress have been introduced in recent years to reform the program, including those to better ensure the public is not shut out of land management and leasing decisions, to address the mounting cleanup and remediation costs of orphan wells scattered across the country and to provide a fair return to taxpayers for the use of their resources,” says the DOI’s March 9 release.

The DOI plans to complete an interim report early this summer and the public will be able to submit written comments on that report. More information about viewing the March 25 forum or submitting comments will be announced soon.