Public Lands, Private Profits: Five Things You Need to Know

posted by Ruth Breech

Rainforest Action Network released a new report today about the dirty energy corporations that are profiting from the broken public lands fossil fuel leasing system in this country. It’s called Public Lands, Private Profits, and from it, here are five things you need to know:  

  1. To address the climate crisis in front of us today, we have to keep a vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Leaving coal, oil and gas in the ground on public lands would keep 450 billion tons of climate change gases out of the air.

  2. Our natural resources and shared assets are being given away for pennies on the dollar. An acre of federal land can be leased for as little as $2 an acre. The federal fossil fuel leasing program is out of date and does not meet our modern financial or environmental  obligations. We need systematic change that addresses the issue holistically, rather than the lease-by-lease practices administered by the Department of the Interior.

  3. The corporate culture is dangerous & corrupt. The corporate culture of the top leaseholders of public lands and waters shows a track record of corruption, violation of Indigenous sacred sites, environmental destruction, and evading the already low fees paid to the U.S. government and us — the people. Nothing is sacred to these dirty energy companies, not even internationally designated areas. There are no boundaries to where these companies will operate and destroy.

  4. The “Filthy 15”, dirty energy companies, own 36% of the leased federal lands and offshore waters. Supermajors like BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips are destroying our natural resources and making millions from the profits.

  5. President Obama has the ability to stop the corporate giveaway of public lands and waters, preserve cultural heritage sites, reduce the threats of climate change and environmental disasters, and conserve wild places by issuing an executive order to end the leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel extraction.

Take action! Tell President Obama: no more coal, oil and gas leases on public lands!