DOI Moves Forward with Leasing Provisions Mandated in Inflation Reduction Act

The Department of the Interior has announced next steps that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will take to comply with congressional direction on oil and gas leasing through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The IRA is a historic and transformational investment toward achieving President Biden’s ambitious goals to tackle the climate crisis while lowering costs for working families and creating good-paying jobs. It will enable the Interior Department to continue playing a leading role in the transition to a clean energy economy.

As the Department implements the IRA, it will continue to conduct robust environmental reviews and strong engagement with local, state and Tribal governments, stakeholders, community leaders and the American public.

Offshore Leasing Provisions

BOEM has prepared a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for two Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales – Lease Sales 259 and 261. Congress directed that Lease Sale 259 be held by March 31, 2023, and Lease Sale 261 by September 30, 2023.

Onshore Leasing Provisions

The Department is committed to taking action that reflects a balanced approach to responsible energy development and management of our nation’s public lands. The IRA provided important modernization of the BLM’s oil and gas leasing program, including increasing the minimum royalty rate, minimum bid, and rental rates; assessing a fee for the filing of Expressions of Interest (EOIs); and eliminating non-competitive leasing.

On Friday, October 7, 2022, the BLM announced it will begin scoping for the next onshore oil and gas lease sales in New Mexico and Wyoming, under a strategy that includes onshore lease sales consistent with the terms of the law.

The BLM’s New Mexico office has posted for public comment a review of 45 parcels totaling 10,123 acres and the BLM’s Wyoming office is making available for public comment a review of 209 parcels totaling 251,087 acres. Scoping notices from other states to evaluate additional potential sale parcels will be posted in the coming weeks.

Those sales will implement the new fiscal terms as outlined in the IRA.

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