For Immediate Release, June 14, 2016
Protesters Tell Feds to ‘Keep It in the Ground’ at Fossil Fuel Auction in Reno
Nevadans to Obama: Halt Lease Sales Now to Protect Water, Land, Wildlife, Climate Future
RENO, Nev.— Hundreds of Nevadans today protested a Bureau of Land Management fossil fuel auction in Reno, calling on the Obama administration to cancel the lease sale to protect Nevada’s water, communities and climate future from fracking. The protest included public speakers, visual and performance art spectacles — including a massive human oil spill. The group then marched to the Siena Hotel, site of the auction, where a majority of the group risked arrest by entering the hotel lobby chanting and singing.
The Bureau planned to auction more than 74,000 acres — or 115 square miles — of the Big Smoky Valley for fracking that could, if fully developed, deplete and pollute precious surface and ground water, industrialize traditional indigenous land and habitat for wildlife, impact agriculture and create almost a half-million tons of greenhouse gas pollution.
The protest is part of a rapidly growing national movement calling on President Obama to expand his climate legacy by halting new federal fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans. “Keep It in the Ground” rallies opposed to federal fossil fuel auctions have been growing across the country — in Utah, Colorado, Louisiana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and previously in Reno, Nev.
Images from today’s protest are available at ran.org/reno
Quotes From Protesters
“Public lands are not meant to line the pockets of dirty energy corporations,” said AJ Buhay with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “The BLM must choose to put people and planet first, not sell off our precious lands to the highest bidder. We stood with the BLM against domestic terrorists in Bunkerville, now we want the BLM to stand with us. There are too many harmful side effects of fracking, the scariest being the poisoning of our scarce water resources. The native community holds these lands to be sacred, and so do we. There are other ways to find energy for our state and our country without destroying our water and land, or in effect, our way of life and our precious state that we call home.”
“We stand with the communities in Nevada concerned about how fracking will affect their lifestyle and environment,” said John Hadder with Great Basin Resource Watch. “If lands optioned for lease by BLM are developed some of these people would be surrounded by oil and gas production operations. We have seen how mineral extraction has eroded the cultural value of the land and displaced sustainable traditional ranching and farming — fracking will do the same. Fracking is very destructive to the land and poses unacceptable risks to existing clean groundwater and air that communities depend upon.”
“Fossil fuel companies make millions off public land leases while wreaking environmental destruction, harming people’s health and violating indigenous rights,” said Peter Dakota Molof of Rainforest Action Network. “Today’s action is an escalation of the people’s movement asking President Obama to stop these corporate giveaways now.”
“We can’t continue to extract and burn decades more public oil and gas and say we’re committed to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement,” said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity. “President Obama has the power to stop these auctions and must do so now to preserve his climate legacy and ensure a future of clean air, clean water and a livable planet for future generations.”
“From Colorado to Utah to right here in Nevada, this is what you can expect when the public is effectively locked out of decision-making on public lands,” said Britten Cleveland of Greenpeace. “People are not going to sit idly by and watch oil and gas companies destroy the land and water we love and need to survive. We’re going to rise up. And we’re going to keep on coming.”