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Know the West

Energy Colonizes the West


Since 1982, the federal government has offered more than 225 million acres of public and private land for lease to gas and oil companies. In the Western states, there are approximately 35 million acres of active leases, nearly half of which are in Wyoming. New Mexico, Colorado and Montana each contain more than 4 million acres of active leases. Leases are divided between federal land and "split estate" lands, where federally owned mineral leases underlie private land. Leases last for 10 years, but can be extended if diligent drilling operations are in progress or other conditions are met.

Breakdown of number of acres leased by state:

Wyoming: 13,953,982

New Mexico: 5,437,977

Colorado: 4,607,692

Montana: 4,210,799

Utah: 3,765,316

Nevada: 2,046,377

Washington: 366,924

California: 299,836

Arizona: 105,020

Oregon: 43,000

Idaho: 5,015