Every year millions of acres of our public lands are offered up to oil and gas companies for exploration and development. In 2017 an area twice the size of the State of Vermont was put on the auction block – giving big corporations the opportunity to lock up these lands for their private gains, and denying us the ability to protect them for wildlife habitat, recreation, and other non-consumptive uses. You can help make sure that our federal agencies manage these areas in ways that benefit all of us. Here is your toolbox for commenting on and engaging in this process.
How the Process Works
Four times a year the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers up parcels of public land to be leased for oil and gas exploration and development. It is a complex process with multiple steps. The public has opportunities to engage at different steps along the way. Below are a fact sheet and infographic that explain that process, as well as a glossary of terms to help you understand the lingo.
Protecting Public Lands from Oil & Gas Development Fact Sheet (PDF)
Protección de Tierras de Propiedad Pública del Desarrollo en Petróleo y Gas Documento Informativo (PDF)
Glossary of terms (PDF)Glosario de Términos (PDF)
What is the Process for Oil & Gas Leasing Infographic (PDF)
Writing Comments and Protests
Your written comments and protests to the BLM can make a difference and get parcels pulled from a lease sale, but you have to do it right. Check out our Writing Comments that Stick checklist and our How to Navigate Oil and Gas Resources and Make a Comment tutorial for tips and processes. Want a deeper dive? Check out the video from our Public Lands Defense Workshop.
Webinar Recording: Oil & Gas Leasing Process
How to Navigate the Oil and Gas Resources and Make a Comment Video
Public Lands Defense Workshop – Using Oil and Gas Toolkit Video
Here are some additional resources that may help you with your comments.
- Geospatial Data for Active Federal Oil and Gas Lease Parcels
- Continental United States: Google Earth (kmz) | GIS Data (zipped shapefile)
- Red = held by production. Purple = not held by production.
- This geospatial data is from on BLM Navigator as of 2/14/2022 with additional attributes from BLM’s Land and Mineral Records system (LR2000). The most current data from BLM is available as a map service.
- Email Alison if you have any questions.
- Rocky Mountain Wild Lease Sale Calendar
- Up-to-date information on proposed oil and gas leases, including the dates and interactive maps can be found on our Upcoming Oil and Gas Lease Sales pages for Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
- The Wilderness Society Study: “Open For Business”