Washington, D.C. — This week, VetVoice Foundation joined a growing coalition representing millions of Americans calling on the U.S. Senate to support Senator Hickenlooper’s Competitive Onshore Mineral Policy via Eliminating Taxpayer-Enabled Speculation (“COMPETES”) Act and include it in the reconciliation bill. In response, Vet Voice Foundation’s Director of Government Relations, Mary Kaszynski released the following statement:
“We have an antiquated, broken system for issuing leases for fossil fuel extraction on our public lands. By design, the current system lines the pockets of fossil fuel executives while shortchanging local communities and taxpayers.
“This legislation would end the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wasteful practice of selling oil and gas leases at rock-bottom prices without a competitive bid.
“Veterans and military families have long-championed environmental stewardship, particularly related to our nation’s public lands. We understand the importance these spaces serve as spots of healing and solemnity; reunion and reflection — and we understand our responsibility to protect them for future generations.
“Analysis suggests that non-competitive leasing costs the American public millions of dollars a year in forgone revenue. Taxpayers do not get a proper rate of return and agency resources are wasted on the non-competitive lease program.
“Passage of the COMPETES Act would remedy these ills and create a more efficient and better run BLM. It would release millions of acres of needlessly leased land to be more fully enjoyed by veterans, military families, and the American public. We applaud Senator Hickenlooper's leadership and urge members of the Senate to support his legislation and, as reconciliation discussions continue, ask that they support its inclusion in that process.”