Senate reconciliation bill draft includes key responsible energy reforms

TU applauds Energy and Natural Resources Committee for leadership addressing this pressing issue


Contact: Corey Fisher, Public Lands Policy Director, Trout Unlimited,; (406) 546-2979   

ARLINGTON, VA. – Several oil and gas reforms that are priorities for Trout Unlimited are included in draft legislation that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has crafted for the Senate’s Build Back Better proposal, according to media reports. These provisions include an end to the practice of non-competitive leasing, improved bonding requirements, and an “expression of interest” fee that will help curtail speculative leasing.  

“Responsible energy development and fish and wildlife conservation need not be mutually exclusive,” said Tasha Sorensen, Wyoming-based western energy lead for Trout Unlimited. “But outdated federal laws encourage speculation and prioritize oil and gas development over other multiple uses, such as conserving fish and wildlife habitat.  

“It is long past due for Congress to enact these reforms and Trout Unlimited thanks Senator Manchin and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee for their leadership to address this pressing issue,” continued Sorensen. “We look forward to working with congressional leaders and the Biden Administration to get this legislation over the finish line.”   

More than 90% of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management lands are currently available for oil and gas leasing, yet only 23% are considered moderate to high potential for oil and gas resources. Speculative leasing in high-value fish and wildlife habitat fuels conflict, such as in Montana’s North Fork of the Flathead River as well as along the Rocky Mountain Front, where bipartisan legislation was necessary to end leasing in these areas.  

Congress is currently considering legislation from Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) that would prevent oil and gas leasing on 450,000 acres of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, where a speculative leasing proposal drew stiff opposition in 2018. 

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Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to caring for and recovering America’s rivers and streams so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon. Across the country, TU brings to bear local, regional, and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters and vibrant communities.