Responsible Resource Development

Energy development on public lands has been has been a catalyst for growth, change, and conflict in communities throughout the West. Developing fossil fuels on lands owned by the federal government will continue until the American energy economy transitions completely to cleaner, more efficient sources of energy.

In the meantime, it’s up to leaders in Washington, D.C. to listen to the local stakeholders that have crafted solutions to problems created by oil, gas, and coal development on public land. Farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and others who need public lands to make a living support a balanced approach to how energy and other values are managed in our shared natural resources.

Here’s more on what the Western Values Project is doing to hold elected officials and industry leaders accountable to the values shared by folks from Farmington to Grand Junction to Billings and beyond.

Master Leasing Plans – a blueprint for balance

During the waning days of the Bush administration, the Department of Interior issued 77 notoriously controversial leases in Utah – some at the doorstep of National Parks in the Moab area.  The Department has come a long way since then, implementing reforms like Master Leasing Plans that ensure the recreation industry is on equal footing with energy producers.  With a sound MLP already done in Moab, the WVP hopes Interior lives up to the same promises in similarly valuable landscapes in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and elsewhere in Utah.

Through the process of hydraulic fracturing, producers sometimes encounter natural gas, which they burn off into the atmosphere, rather than sell, in the pursuit of short-run profits. Our analysis has found that practice costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year because they lose a resource that would ordinarily be sold on the open market. Fortunately, DOI has stepped up with a strong standard that would make sure oil companies compensate taxpayers for the energy that has been lost through waste.

Responsible coal mining on public lands

While executives for big coal companies rake in billions in bonuses, Western taxpayers are getting stuck with the bill for cleaning up their mines after those companies go bankrupt.  The WVP supports reforms under consideration at the Department of Interior that would make sure coal producers pay their fair share and fully reclaim the land when operations ends.

Stopping wasted energy on public lands

Through the process of hydraulic fracturing, producers sometimes encounter natural gas, which they burn off into the atmosphere, rather than sell, in the pursuit of short-run profits. Our analysis has found that practice costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year because they lose a resource that would ordinarily be sold on the open market. Fortunately, DOI has stepped up with a strong standard that would make sure oil companies compensate taxpayers for the energy that has been lost through waste.

Join the effort to strengthen the American West.