BLM Protests

We dig into who is protesting oil & gas lease sales

BLM Protests
Photo by Li-An Lim / Unsplash

Not that BLM

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) databases include information on protested parcels of land put up for lease sales.  Data goes back to 2018 and includes 4,210 protested parcels.  

The top-10 protestors represent nearly 80% of all protests.

Protests have increased in recent years.

Two things stood out to us with the top-10 data.

  1. The US Senate has been protesting oil & gas lease sales in Nevada
  2. An individual is the 5th largest protestor, a Robert Rutkowski from Topeka, Kansas

There has been controversy over the amount of oil & gas lease sales in Nevada.  Speculators have nominated a lot of acreage in the state, requiring time and effort on BLM's part for little to no oil & gas production.  The Senate protests could be related to that.

Mr. Rutkowski is more interesting.  A simple Google search on his name shows he has intervened and protested with public comments at the SEC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, NRC, FEC, USPTO, DOE and other government agencies along with the BLM.  He appears to truly be America's greatest protestor.

Mr. Rutkowski recently filed a comment in opposition of the Freeport  LNG expansion.  Alongside his letter at the Department of Energy was a notice of intervention, protest and comment from the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, a lobbyist representing manufacturing totaling $1.1 trillion in sales that employs 1.8 million employees.  

The Industrial lobby asked if the exports were needed:

"We do not think so. Especially when you consider that the financial benefits of exports are limited to just a handful of exporting companies. The fact is that this small group of companies receive tremendous financial benefits, while increasing the cost of natural gas and electricity for everyone else in the country.

U.S. consumers and the economy should be a priority for domestic natural gas resources over LNG exports and foreign countries who are buyers. For years, the U.S. was dependent upon other nations for energy. Now that we have energy independence, we have handed it over to foreign nations to dictate our domestic natural gas reliability and prices. Importantly, we are shipping away the U.S. manufacturing competitive advantage."

Next time you think Energy policies are a left vs right or conservative versus liberal thing, remember a single man in Kansas and industrial manufacturing in the U.S. are protesting oil & gas projects nearly as much as the Sierra Club or WildEarth Guardians.  Energy policy is complex.