Trout Unlimited applauds legislation modernizing public lands oil and gas leasing

Trout Unlimited applauds legislation modernizing public lands oil and gas leasing

March 4, 2021

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

(March 4, 2021) WASHINGTON D.C. – Trout Unlimited supports legislation introduced today by Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) that would improve the federal oil and gas leasing program on public lands. The End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act would require Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to regularly assess oil and gas development potential on public lands, and it would prohibit BLM from offering leases on lands determined to have little to no development or production potential.

“Trout Unlimited has long advocated for responsible energy development that is balanced with other multiple uses, such as recreation and fish and wildlife conservation,” said Corey Fisher, public lands policy director for Trout Unlimited. “In places like Nevada’s Ruby Mountains and the upper Rio Grande Valley in Colorado we’ve seen speculative leasing proposals spur opposition from hunters and anglers and threaten important habitat for native trout. We welcome legislation to establish a more efficient, thoughtful process for oil and gas leasing on public lands.”   

The current system allows speculators to nominate millions of acres for leasing 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. For instance, in Nevada, only fifteen percent of public lands show promise for actually producing oil and gas. Moreover, once public lands are leased they are encumbered with a right to development, while there is no equivalent certainty for conservation or recreation.

“Senator Cortez Masto’s End Speculative Leasing Act is visionary and provides a framework for responsible energy development. She understands what common-sense land management is and this bill will help bring balance back to our public lands,” said Pam Harrington, Nevada field coordinator with Trout Unlimited.