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'Keep It in the Ground' Rally to Target BLM's Oil, Gas Auction in Cheyenne

Local Citizens, Activists to Protest Public Land Giveaway of over 120,000 Acres

Additional Contacts:

Ralph Garrett, Social Action Committee, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laramie, (307) 745-8712
Connie Wilbert, Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter, (307) 460-8046
Valerie Love, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 274-9713
Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 238-1766


CHEYENNE— Dozens of local citizens and climate activists will protest Tuesday morning at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) oil and gas lease sale in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The rally will be led by local citizens and take place outside the Holiday Inn Cheyenne. Activists will demand an immediate end to fossil fuel development on public lands.

The BLM’s “climate auction” will allow industry to bid on more than 120,000 acres of publicly owned land in Wyoming for the purposes of drilling and fracking oil and gas. As companies mine coal, and drill and frack oil and gas in the state, Wyoming residents continue to shoulder health and climate impacts. The rally will call on the BLM to stop this auction now to prevent catastrophic climate change and ensure a livable future for this and coming generations in Wyoming and beyond.

The protest is part of the rapidly growing “Keep It in the Ground” movement calling on President Obama to define his climate legacy by stopping new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans. The auction presents a gross conflict between the administration’s climate pledges and an energy policy that allows fuels that should be considered “unburnable” to be extracted from public lands. Federal fossil fuels—those that the president controls—should be the first taken off the table to mitigate climate damage. The auction is moving forward despite earlier protests and a letter delivered to President Obama asking him to cancel all fossil fuel sales because of runaway greenhouse gas pollution and climate impacts. Similar “Keep it in the ground” protests have been held previously in Cheyenne and in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.

What: “Keep It in the Ground” rally at a BLM oil and gas leasing auction

When: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 7:00 a.m.

Where: Holiday Inn Cheyenne, 204 West Fox Farm Road

Who: Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter, 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Rainforest Action Network, WildEarth Guardians.

Media availability: Activists will be available for interviews before and after the protest.

Quotes:

Connie Wilbert, Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter:

"We have the innovative power to provide clean, affordable, sustainable energy that reduces climate disruption, protects our communities, landscapes and wildlife, and provides good safe jobs and a stable economy. The sooner we move away from oil and gas, the better chance we will have to avoid catastrophic climate change and irreparable damage to public health.  It's time to stop mining our public lands for dirty fossil fuels."

Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network:

“Dirty energy companies profit off our shared heritage and leave toxic messes for the state to clean up. Companies like Anadarko and Encana make millions off of taxpayers, degrading thousands of acres, creating health problems for residents, and spewing massive climate change pollution into the air. No more corporate giveaways. No more health impacts on communities. President Obama, end fossil fuel leases today.”

Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians:

“Our public lands, our western wildlife, our clean air and water, and our climate are all being auctioned away to the highest oil and gas industry bidder.  President Obama has shown real climate leadership nationally, but now it's time for leadership on the ground where it matters most.  It's time to put the brakes on leasing our public lands for fracking.”

Background

Sixty-seven million acres of U.S. public lands are already leased to dirty fossil fuel industries, an area 55 times larger than Grand Canyon National Park, and containing up to 43 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution. Nearly one quarter of all U.S. climate pollution already comes from burning fossil fuels from public lands. Remaining federal oil, gas, coal, oil shale and tar sands that have not been leased to industry contain up to 450 billion additional tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution.

In September, more than 400 organizations called on President Obama to end federal fossil fuel leasing. In November, Senators Merkley (D-Ore.), Sanders (D-Vt.) and others introduced legislation to end new federal fossil fuel leases and cancel non-producing federal fossil fuel leases. Last month, the Obama Administration placed a moratorium on federal coal leasing while the Department of the Interior studies its impacts on taxpayers and the planet. Since November, in response to protests, the BLM has canceled oil and gas leasing auctions in Utah, Montana, and Washington, DC.

Resources

View WildEarth Guardians’ maps of the planned lease sale in Wyoming and nearby states, including a time series map of the last 12 years of Wyoming oil and gas leasing, here

Download WildEarth Guardians administrative protest of the November Utah Oil and Gas Lease Sale here.

Download the September “Keep It in the Ground” letter to Obama here.

Download The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Federal Fossil Fuels here (this report by EcoShift Consulting, commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, quantifies the volume and potential greenhouse gas emissions of remaining federal fossil fuels).

Download The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions fact sheet here.)

Download Grounded: The President’s Power to Fight Climate Change, Protect Public Lands by Keeping Publicly Owned Fossil Fuels in the Ground here (this report by the Center for Biological Diversity details the legal authorities with which a president can halt new federal fossil fuel leases.)

Download Public Lands, Private Profits here (this report details the corporations profiting most from climate-destroying fossil fuel extraction on public lands).

Download WildEarth Guardians’ formal petition calling on the Department of the Interior to finally study the climate impacts of the federal oil and gas leasing program and to place a moratorium on new leasing until completed that study is completed here.


 

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