The oil and gas industry exploits a lot of loopholes in the federal leasing system – and one of the worst is the practice of non-competitive leasing. This backdoor leasing loophole lets speculators lease our public lands for next to nothing – just $1.50 per acre, much less than the usual rate at auction – and lets them buy up those leases behind closed doors without any public transparency. An astounding 40% of acres leased for drilling are sold through this process, and here in Colorado, tens of thousands of acres of public lands have been leased through this bad practice.

Take action to end oil and gas speculation on our public lands!

The issue is playing out in our backyard. Several leases in the Thompson Divide were purchased non-competitively, and have occupied these treasured public lands for 25 years. The company has never produced any oil or gas from the leases, but has exploited loophole after loophole to keep them on the books. We’ve been working to eliminate these leases from the Willow Creek area for years, so that these lands can be managed for their conservation values.

We’re grateful that Senator Hickenlooper is working to close this glaring loophole. The COMPETES Act would end non-competitive leasing and prevent oil and gas companies from leasing up our public lands without public oversight. As the Senator said in introducing this bill, “Westerners lose out when large swaths of land are set aside for speculation instead of conservation or recreation.” We couldn’t agree more.

Please help us give a loud and enthusiastic thanks to Senator Hickenlooper for being a champion for our public lands, and holding the oil and gas industry accountable. Take action today!