news releases

17 January 2020

Bill Would Curb Speculative Oil & Gas Leasing of Public Lands, Protect Public Access

Category: News Releases

Today, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2020, which would end the practice of leasing low and no potential lands for oil and gas drilling by requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to assess all lands’ mineral development potential before offering those lands for lease, and prohibiting leasing on any lands found to have low or no development potential. In response to the passage, Maite Arce, Hispanic Access Foundation’s president and CEO, released the following statement:

“By leasing our nation’s cherished public lands that provide much more value to taxpayers and local economies through recreation and tourism, we are diminishing the value of these lands for our communities and future generations. Lands that are leased for oil and gas are often not managed for other beneficial uses like wildlife, recreation or wilderness.

“Latinos have enjoyed recreating and continuing family and cultural traditions such as fishing and hunting on America’s public lands for generations. By signing away development rights to these lands for pennies on the dollar, all Americans are left with fewer places to continue to build memories with their families and communities. Generational and cultural traditions are practiced and passed down on these public lands and to lease them at such an insignificant amount would make passing down our American way of life to our children and grandchildren so much more difficult.

“It is our moral obligation to protect these places from irresponsible oil and gas leasing. Let’s make sure that our treasured public lands are valued for what they are worth and managed for the benefit of local economies and public uses like recreation. We must protect these places to preserve our shared American history, culture, the wildlife that depends on these places, and the ecosystems that sustain our way of life for the sake of all Americans and future generations.”

The Bureau of Land Management has already scheduled lease sales in 2020 for hundreds of thousands of acres across the west, including a significant portion that are deemed low to no potential. Latinos across the country are speaking up to make sure our public land agencies understand the importance of these public lands to local communities and economies, cultural practices and traditions, and for the sake of future generations.
Watch the Latino community reflect and explain the importance of public lands to their communities on our Protect Our Lands Video Series.

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HAF improves the lives of Hispanics in the United States and promotes civic engagement by educating, motivating and helping them access trustworthy support systems.

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