Call On Your Senators To Stay Strong And Reform The Oil And Gas Program

An abandoned well in high grass
An abandoned well in high grass, courtesy of Steve Hillebrand, USFWS (public domain)

The newest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that we must rapidly phase out fossil fuel development. And transition to a just and equitable economy powered by renewable energy.

Despite the urgency of the climate crisis, our federal oil and gas leasing system prioritizes oil and gas industry interests over the health, air, and water quality of our communities.

The Biden Administration and its Department of Interior (DOI) have an opportunity to make public lands a part of the climate solution, rather than the problem. If they move forward with leasing reforms, Congress and DOI can ensure that the oil and gas leasing system doesn’t allow the industry to have free reign on our public lands.

We have joined our friends at Wilderness Workshop in calling on our Senators to stay strong and continue the effort to move forward reforms to the oil and gas program. Take action and send your letter to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper.

Resources to Write Your Own Letter:

Below is a sample letter from The Wilderness Society you can use. Be sure to write the letter in your own words. For more information about submitting comments that stick, check out our checklist (en Español).

Email Forms:

When you’re ready, submit your letter via your Senator’s email forms, linked here:

Senator Michael Bennet
Senator John Hickenlooper

Sample Letter:

Dear [target],

Thank you for your bold leadership on climate. From wildfires to heatwaves to reduced snowpack, it’s clear that Colorado is on the frontlines of the climate crisis. To address climate change, it is vital that we make public lands a part of the climate solution. By reigning in oil and gas on public lands and waters, we can protect air and water quality, human health, and wildlife. And allow more public lands to be managed for conservation, recreation, and other uses.

Your efforts to improve bonding practices, eliminate non-competitive leasing, increase public participation in oil and gas leasing decisions, and clean up orphaned wells are so important to protect Colorado’s public lands. Thank you for championing legislation that will lead to critical reforms of the federal oil and gas program.

It’s also imperative that the Department of the Interior act urgently on its findings that the federal oil and gas program is fundamentally broken. This past November, DOI released a report documenting that the oil and gas program “fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers,” “inadequately accounts for environmental harms,” “fosters speculation,” and “leaves communities out of important conversations…” This report confirms what federal oversight offices, and many others, have been saying for decades: The federal oil and gas program requires top-to-bottom reform.

At a minimum, DOI must initiate a rulemaking: to dramatically strengthen the onshore program’s fiscal terms and bonding requirements, to eliminate loopholes that encourage speculative leasing and mismanagement of public lands, and to prevent bad actors from gaming the system. I ask you to urge DOI to prioritize the oil and gas rulemaking, undertake additional reform measures such as issuing guidance, and ensure new leasing does not proceed under the antiquated system. Federal oil and gas development has significant impacts on Colorado’s public lands, wildlife, water, and communities, and we deserve better stewardship.
Once again, thank you for your leadership on the most pressing conservation challenges we face, and thank you for your time.



Resources You Can Incorporate

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