Greenhouse gas emissions will now be a part of oil and gas lease environmental reviews
The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday it will now analyze greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their “social cost,” when doing environmental reviews for new oil and gas lease sales.
There are six parcels in Utah, located in Emery, Uintah and Grand counties, currently being reviewed for sales early next year. They will go through this new process looking at emissions.
“It is a big deal,” said Landon Newell, an attorney for the conservation group Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “It's the agency finally recognizing the enormity of its oil and gas leasing program and how significant[ly] that impacts our climate. And hopefully the agency uses this report to conclude that no new fossil fuel leasing is required if we hope to avoid the worst outcomes of a changing climate.”
The Biden Administration halted all new oil and gas leases earlier this year but that rule was struck down in court.
“The BLM is committed to responsible development on public lands,” BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a statement, “including ensuring that our environmental reviews consider the climate impacts of energy development on lands and communities.”
The Utah Petroleum Association did not respond to a request for comment.