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Public Lands Auction to Hand Over 1,2000 Acres to Fracking Industry
Denver – WildEarth Guardians today challenged a plan by President Trump and his U.S. Bureau of Land Management to auction off more than 1,200 acres of public lands in eastern Colorado for as little as $2.00 per acre for fracking.
“Handing over our public lands to the oil and gas industry for $2 an acre is a travesty, but what’s worse is that it continues to sacrifice our climate,” said Becca Fischer, Climate Guardian for WildEarth Guardians. “We’re stepping up to confront President Trump and his attempts to deny our future the clean energy and safe climate they deserve.”
In an administrative appeal (called a “protest”), WildEarth Guardians called on the Bureau of Land Management to cancel its plans to auction off 1,227 acres of public lands in eastern Colorado to the oil and gas industry on September 7, 2017. The public lands include areas that are part of the Pawnee National Grassland in Weld County, as well as lands in Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Morgan Counties.
Guardians’ appeal targets the failure of the Bureau of Land Management to account for the climate impacts of authorizing more fossil fuel production on public lands. 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 leased 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.
“The Bureau of Land Management is aiding and abetting rampant industry speculation,” said Fischer. “Sadly, in doing so, they’re locking up our public lands and setting back climate progress.”
The Bureau of Land Management will likely respond to WildEarth Guardians’ appeal before September 7.