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Public Lands Auction to Hand Over 72,000 Acres to Fracking Industry
Denver – In defense of clean air and climate, WildEarth Guardians today challenged a plan by President Trump and his U.S. Bureau of Land Management to auction off more than 72,000 acres of public lands across Wyoming for as little as $2.00 per acre for fracking.
“The Bureau of Land Management continues to fail to protect our clean air and climate or even take a hard look at the impacts from rampant oil and gas giveaways,” said Becca Fischer, Climate Guardian for WildEarth Guardians. “The agency has to start looking at the big picture before it’s too late.”
In a protest (also known as an administrative appeal) WildEarth Guardians called on the Bureau of Land Management to cancel its plans to auction off 72,843 acres of public lands in Wyoming to the oil and gas industry on December 14, 2017. The public lands include areas that are part of Wyoming’s Red Desert and the Upper Green River Valley.
Guardians’ appeal targets the failure of the Bureau of Land Management to account for the clean air and climate impacts of authorizing more fossil fuel production on public lands. Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin is currently violating federal air quality standards, and already, oil and gas produced from public lands in the U.S. accounts for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in America.
In late June, WildEarth Guardians called on a federal court to put a halt to new oil and gas sales unless and until the Bureau of Land Management addresses the climate implications of fossil fuel production.
In spite of this, the Bureau of Land Management has auctioned and is proposing to auction off more than a million acres of public lands for fracking just in 2017 in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.
The agency’s proposed auction comes even as industry is hoarding public lands for fracking. Less than half of all lands sold to oil and gas companies are actually producing anything and more than 7,500 drilling permits are sitting idle.
“These leases are clearly not needed by industry, and by issuing more leases, the BLM is allowing industry to lock up our public lands for fracking for at least ten years,” said Fischer. “These public lands belong to the American people and not the oil and gas industry.”
The Bureau of Land Management will likely respond to WildEarth Guardians’ appeal before December 14.