Rosen Applauds Interior Department Heeding Her Call to Reform Onshore Oil and Gas Lease Sales

Last Year, Senators Rosen and Grassley Introduced Bipartisan Legislation to Require Big Oil and Gas Companies to Pay their Fair Share by Modernizing the Outdated Public Lands Royalty System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) applauded the U.S. Department of Interior’s recent announcement that it will be raising the royalty rates for new competitive oil and gas lease sales on public lands to 18.75 percent. DOI’s plan to modernize federal oil and gas royalties for public lands – for the first time in more than a century – closely follows Senator Rosen’s bipartisan legislation and her repeated calls to fix this issue. Last year, Senators Rosen and Grassley introduced the Fair Returns for Public Lands Act to increase the royalty rate from 12.5 percent to 18.75 percent, which could raise at least $1 billion a year, over ten years, in additional federal revenue. 

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, the state of Nevada has lost more than $50 million in revenue over the last decade because of outdated annual rental rates and minimum bid prices.

“The current federal oil and gas program has failed to protect our public lands and American taxpayers, leading to states like Nevada losing millions in revenue while giant corporations make record profits and still increase prices at the pump,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m pleased to see the Interior Department has heeded my bipartisan call for action requiring Big Oil to pay its fair share so that state and local governments in Nevada and across the nation receive fair compensation.” 

Senator Rosen has been a leader on reforming onshore oil and gas lease sales on public lands. In June, Senators Rosen and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in June urging DOI to include their bipartisan legislation as a policy recommendation in their finalized report. Then, in December, a report issued by the Department of the Interior endorsed the key goals of her bipartisan Fair Returns for Public Lands Act to fix major shortcomings in the current program. 

Senator Rosen also recently helped introduce the Competitive Onshore Mineral Policy via Eliminating Taxpayer-Enabled Speculation (COMPETES) Act, which would end the current practice of leasing non-competitive taxpayer-owned public lands to private oil and gas companies for as little as $1.50 per acre. Non-competitive leasing is often abused by companies who nominate lands for auction with no intention of bidding on them so they can acquire them later at a minimal cost.