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Public Forum on Federal Oil & Gas Program on Thursday

The U.S. Interior Department released additional information about the upcoming virtual forum regarding the federal oil and gas program, including the public’s viewing options and ability to submit written input to inform Interior’s review.

The public forum is part of Interior’s comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program as called for in Executive Order 14008 and will feature several panels to highlight perspectives from invited participants including industry representatives, labor and environmental justice organizations, natural resource advocates, Indigenous organizations, and other experts.    

DATE: Thursday, March 25, 2021

TIME: 11 am – 2:30 pm Mountain Time

REGISTRATION: The forum will take place via Zoom Webinar. Anyone interested in viewing the forum may register via Zoom. A livestream of the event will also be available at doi.gov/events. The forum will be recorded and have live captions.

The information gathered at the forum will help inform an interim report from the Department that will be completed in early summer. The report will include initial findings on the state of the federal conventional energy programs, as well as outline next steps and recommendations for the Department and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs, and build a just and equitable energy future.

Members of the public can submit additional information through April 15 to inform Interior’s interim report at energyreview@ios.doi.gov.

The agenda for the forum is below: 1:00 pm: Welcome and introductory remarks by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Interior leadership. 1:15 pm: Presentations by the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on offshore and onshore oil and gas programs. 1:50 pm: Presentations and Q&A by invited individuals representing environmental justice and frontline communities, academia, oil and gas industry trade associations, Indigenous organizations, conservation organizations, and labor groups. A list of participants will be updated on Interior’s website as available. 4:30 pm: Adjourn

In addition to the forum, the Interior Department is conducting extensive outreach to Members of Congress, Governors, Tribes, and other state and local elected leaders.

In a related matter, a report by the University of Wyoming found that: "Wyoming residents support natural gas (83%), oil (71%), solar (69%), wind (66%), and coal (63%) energy production. Further, rather than opposing them, respondents indicated the need for more information regarding energy storage, uranium, nuclear energy, carbon capture and storage, and rare earth elements."

The UW report found three major themes in its survey of Wyoming residents:

The first we called the “renewable theme,” where renewable energy is strongly supported as are developments in technology and non-energy types of income, such as information-based industries. The participants in this theme are motivated by concerns for climate change and other environmental factors, as well as the well- being of Wyoming workers and communities. For this reason, they support conventional energy as a bridge to renewable energy and non-energy types of industries.
In the second theme, what we call the “economic theme,” participants are motivated by concerns for Wyoming’s economy overall. This theme explored opinions of participants advocating for conventional energy, which they see as both part of Wyoming history and the strategic economic bridge toward other industries. Participantsin this theme supported carbon capture and storage as a means to enhance oil recovery and to support coal operations, but also to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. In terms of enhancing the state’s economy, respondents considered it critical to pay attention to climate change. This theme was also more open to nuclear energy and strongly supported the development and use of new technologies.
The last theme, the “quality of life theme,” emphasized the importance of quality of life in Wyoming. Considerations related to jobs, job security, health insurance, wildlife, and reliable and cost-efficient energy delivery ranked highest in this theme. The quality of life theme did not favor any particular type of energy. The participants leaned toward different energy types in their interviews but not at the expense of a high quality of life. They raised concerns that the cost of transitioning from conventional to renewable energy would be passed on to vulnerable populations. This theme was the most positive about nuclear energy.

Read the full report here.

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