“Even as they ask the government to open new lands to drilling, oil companies are sitting on millions of acres of undeveloped federal land,” said Sen. Franken. “This undeveloped land could contain billions of barrels of untapped oil that could increase supplies and ease the upward pressure on gas prices being felt in Minnesota and across the country. If these companies aren’t going to develop the land they lease from our government, they need to step aside and let another company do the job.”
On Wednesday, Franken signed onto the Use It or Lose It Act of 2011, which would require oil companies to submit plans showing how they plan to develop their leased lands and to pay an annual fee of $4 per acre of unused land or water. Currently, oil companies lease 79 million acres of federal land and water, yet 60 million of those acres lie undeveloped. Meanwhile, oil companies have also asked to lease additional federal lands.