Trump plan to expand oil and gas leasing in West draws, for the most part, a big yawn from industry

During his years in the White House, President Obama erected barriers to oil and gas development on the West’s public lands. President Trump, mindful of the energy industry’s view that those rules were too restrictive, has set his sights on dismantling them.

Yet for all the president’s support, federal lease auctions have attracted far less excitement than anticipated from oil and gas producers, even in heavily drilled areas of Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah and Colorado. In other Western states, and in Alaska, producers greet most new auctions with yawns.

In March, Trump issued an executive order to unshackle the energy industry from “regulatory burdens” and dispatched Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to accelerate and expand the scope of federal oil and gas lease auctions. It was a major part of the president’s plan to re-establish “American energy dominance.”

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