Trout Unlimited applauds Cortez Masto bill updating public lands oil and gas leasing

Bill would require consideration of oil and gas potential before leasing public lands

For Immediate Release, January 17, 2019

Contact: Corey Fisher, Trout Unlimited, 406-546-2979,

(January 17, 2020) WASHINGTON D.C. – Trout Unlimited supports legislation introduced today by Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) that would improve oil and gas lease protocol on public lands.

The End Speculative Leasing Act of 2020 would require consideration of oil and gas potential before leasing. This will provide for better management of public lands for recreation, wildlife, and multiple other uses that benefit all Americans by taking lands off the table for lease nominations in low and no potential areas.

The current system allows anonymous, speculative leasing of public lands without regard for the potential to actually produce oil and gas. This system does not benefit American taxpayers and creates unnecessary land management conflicts with fish, wildlife, outdoor recreation and other multiple-use activities.

“The current system is hurting high value fish and wildlife habitat, wasting taxpayer money, and in many places, damaging the outdoor recreation economy,” said Steve Kandell, Director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project.

Kandell noted that leases in low potential areas come with significant costs borne by the public. State and federal agencies are burdened with having to review dubious leasing proposals, diverting limited resources that otherwise would be devoted to other priorities such as managing fish and wildlife habitat. Moreover, once public lands are leased, they are encumbered with a right to development, while the public has no equivalent right for conservation or recreation. When push comes to shove, fish and wildlife and anglers and hunters get the short end of the stick.

“We applaud Sen. Cortez Masto standing with anglers, hunters and public land advocates. This bill is a meaningful step toward responsibly managing our American public lands,” said Pam Harrington, Nevada field coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “This bill will help focus leasing where there is the most potential for energy production and the least potential for impacts to fish and wildlife habitat and Nevada’s special places.”


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.