Public lands deserve a public process. Being able to participate in how public lands are managed is a key part of what keeps public lands public.
A bill that passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee yesterday, called “Removing Barriers to Energy Independence Act” (H.R. 6087), would impede the public process by instituting fees intended to deter the public from actively participating in the public process.
This bill proposes establishing fees to file protests related to oil and gas leasing decisions. Individuals or groups would be charged $150 to file a protest less than 10 pages, with additional pages charged at $5 each. The goal of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), is to expedite development of public lands.
While development is one of the many activities that happens on public lands, we need a fair and reasonable process to decide what places are suitable for development and which ones should be kept as they are, wild and open to the public. Instituting fees on the public to participate in the public process, while doing everything possible to streamline and prioritize development, damages not just public land but the foundation that keeps them public. You can read Outdoor Alliance’s comment letter at right.