The first onshore oil and natural gas lease sales under President Biden fetched $22 million from energy companies that gained access to more than 100 square miles of federal land in Western states.
Most of the land sold by the Bureau of Land Management was in Wyoming. Oil and natural gas produced from the land will be hit with an 18.75% royalty fee, up from the 12.5% rate that was charged for roughly a century.
Mr. Biden, as part of his climate change agenda, tried to suspend new federal leasing when he first took office but was ordered by a judge to resume the program.
The president has suffered criticism from the left for not doing more to tackle climate change and from the right to help energy companies ramp up production to lower high gas prices.
Domestic oil production has increased but remains below pre-pandemic levels as the industry is wary of the volatile energy market’s future after losing billions of dollars in 2020.
• This article includes wire service reports.