Producers Knock Clinton Plan To Set Aside Public Lands
President Clinton's announcement Friday of a ban on new roads,
logging and other activities on more than one-fourth of all
federally owned lands will put quite a dent in the future
exploration and production of natural gas in the United States, gas
The president's action, which had been anticipated by
Republicans on Capitol Hill, would effectively place 58.5 million
acres of federal lands off-limits to the logging, mining and
producing industries. It's estimated this land has probable gas
reserves of about 10 Tcf that could be developed, said Jerry
Jordan, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Association of
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK) charged
that the Energy Information Administration is deliberately
suppressing a report that shows the lands could hold up to 23 Tcf
of gas reserves.
This "shouldn't be done. It's unwise and probably illegal. It's
terribly unwise from the standpoint of our country's energy needs,"
Jordan told NGI. "Taking out over 50 million acres of non-park
public lands will simply worsen our situation regarding natural
He questioned the legal authority of the Clinton administration
to take this action. "It will clearly be tested in the courts" by
the logging industry and possibly gas producers, Jordan believes.
Skip Horvath, president of the Natural Gas Supply Association,
also had several concerns with the ban. "We are concerned that such
an order will impede maintenance of our [production] facilities" on
But Clinton's executive order contends the ban will have "only
very minimal impact on the...future supply of natural gas and other
energy sources." It would permit existing oil, gas, coal and other
leaseable mineral development to continue after current leases
expire if they are immediately renewed or reissued.
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