The US has introduced new drilling reforms in a bid to protect the environment on western federal lands and reduce the strong influence of major oil and gas companies.

According to the new policies, the department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will play a bigger role while supervising offshore drilling work because it would decide which parts of federal land would be leased.

Energy companies have previously been entitled to nominate the parts of land they wanted to explore.

The BLM will continue to receive industry requests concerning where to offer leases, however, it will encourage leasing in developed expanses and adopt a cautious approach for leasing and the development of new expanses, reports Reuters.