Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and Acting Assistant SecretaryBureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Inger and Joyce, it is so lovely to be with you again, if only virtually.
The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the urgency of the environmental challenges we face and has taken immediate action to tackle these interrelated issues.
On his very first day in office, President Biden brought the United States back into the Paris Agreement, and as of February 19th, the United States is once again a party to the agreement that we were proudly instrumental in achieving just over five years ago.
The President has also directed the Department of State to seek the advice and consent of the United States Senate on the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. If enforced worldwide, the Amendment could prevent up to 0.4 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of this century.
The President’s Special Envoy for Climate, former Secretary of State John Kerry, has emphasized the interdependence of climate and the oceans. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to prioritize ocean conservation, including reducing marine debris and plastic pollution. The United States Congress has also demonstrated strong support for this issue by passing the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act to address marine debris and ocean plastic at home and abroad.
The United States will continue to work to prevent future pandemics in part by addressing the drivers of zoonotic disease worldwide. Key drivers include the sale of high-risk wildlife in markets, wildlife trafficking, and human encroachment into wildlife habitat. To protect natural habitat, President Biden has committed to conserving at least 30 percent of U.S. domestic lands and waters by 2030.
The United States is also a global leader in technologies and policy to monitor and abate air pollution, the single biggest environmental risk factor to human health. We are eager to share the lessons we’ve learned over the last 50 years about reducing air pollution and emissions of toxic chemicals with the global community.
As President Biden has said, “We are in a crisis.” The threats I have just described require urgent, action from every state to address this global problem. The United States looks forward to working with partners and allies to overcome these challenges. Together, we must — we can — truly build a cleaner, safer, more sustainable world.
Thank you very much.
More from: Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and Acting Assistant SecretaryBureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
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- Oil and Gas: Onshore Competitive and Noncompetitive Lease RevenuesBy Sam NewsDecember 9, 2020Pursuant to federal law, the Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers leases competitively through auction or noncompetitively for a fee if an adequate bid is not received. Competitive leases for oil and gas development on federal lands produced greater revenues, on average, than noncompetitive leases for fiscal years 2003 through 2019, according to GAO's analysis of revenues reported by Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) and leases from BLM. For this period, about 72,800 competitive leases produced about $14.3 billion in revenues—while total of 100,300 leases produced $16.1 billion. Average revenues from competitive leases over this time period were nearly 3 times greater than revenues from noncompetitive leases; about $196,000 and $66,000, respectively. Based on GAO's analysis of leases that started in fiscal years 2003 through 2009, competitive leases produced oil and gas more often than noncompetitive leases during the leases' 10-year primary term. Further, competitive leases with high bonus bids (bids above $100 per acre) were more likely to produce oil and gas in their 10-year primary terms than both competitive leases with lower bonus bids and noncompetitive leases. Specifically, about 26 percent of competitive leases that sold with bonus bids above $100 per acre produced oil and gas and generated royalties in their primary term compared with about 2 percent for competitive leases that sold at the minimum bid of $2 per acre and about 1 percent for noncompetitive leases. GAO's analysis showed that competitive leases with high bonus bids generated over 3 times the amount of cumulative, or total, royalties by the end of their primary term than all other competitive and noncompetitive leases combined (see fig.). Cumulative Royalties from Competitive Leases, by Bonus Bid, and Noncompetitive Leases That Started in Fiscal Years 2003 through 2009 According to BLM, federal onshore oil and gas leases generate about $3 billion annually in federal revenues, including royalties, one-time bonus bid payments, and rents. The Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 requires that public lands available for oil and gas leasing first be offered under a competitive bidding process. BLM offers leases with 10-year primary terms competitively through auction or, if the tract of land does not receive an adequate bid, noncompetitively for a fee. The minimum bid is $2 per acre, and bids at or above the minimum are called bonus bids. ONRR is to collect revenues from oil and gas leases in accordance with the specific terms and conditions outlined in the leases, including revenues from rents and royalties. Lessees are to pay rent annually until production begins on the leased land and then pay royalties as a percentage of oil and gas production. Lease terms may be extended beyond the primary term if, for example, the lease is producing oil or gas. GAO was asked to review oil and gas leasing on federal lands. This report describes oil and gas revenues from competitive and noncompetitive leases for fiscal years 2003 through 2019. GAO analyzed federal lease and revenue data and interviewed Interior officials and four experts knowledgeable about federal oil and gas leasing. To consistently compare leases over their lifecycle, GAO analyzed revenues that occurred within the leases' primary term (first 10 years) for leases that started in fiscal years 2003 through 2009. For more information, contact Frank Rusco at (202) 512-3841 or RuscoF@gao.gov.[Read More…]
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