For Immediate Release: February 3, 2016
Contact: Ruth Breech, firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 238-1766
Taylor McKinnon, email@example.com, (801) 300-2414
Marissa Knodel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 222-0729
Jeremy Nichols, email@example.com, (303) 437-7663
Jason Kowalski, firstname.lastname@example.org, (716) 984-4200
The recent postponement of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) oil and gas lease sale in Cheyenne, Wyoming – one of many recently canceled or postponed auctions – highlights the growing strength of the “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.
Before the auction was put off on account of a snowstorm, dozens of local citizens and activists had planned to protest the sale, as they have outside other auctions in Cheyenne and in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. The next protests of oil and gas auctions will take place in Colorado and Utah on February 11th and 16th
This strategy has already gained the attention of leaders in Congress and in the Obama Administration. 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.
Now Presidential candidates are taking notice as well, and will continue to be pressed to take stronger positions on this issue as the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground gains force across the country.
“It seems like even Mother Nature is saying that it's time to keep our fossil fuels in the ground," said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians' Climate and Energy Program Director. “It's time for the Obama Administration to start putting the climate, the American public, and our future first, and stop letting the fracking industry run roughshod over our western public lands.”
“Scrapping this auction is the right step to keep dirty energy’s hands off Wyoming lands and our shared resources,” said Ruth Breech, Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. “Now it’s time for President Obama and the BLM to heed the people’s call to keep it in the ground, end the corporate giveaway, and cancel these lands sales forever.”
“Each new federal fossil fuel lease plunges us deeper into climate disaster,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we want to avoid the worst climate impacts we must stop bringing new fossil fuels online. Stopping new leases for drilling, fracking and mining on our public lands is the natural place to start.”
“President Obama's climate legacy will not be achieved as long as his administration continues to sell unburnable fossil fuels to Fossil Fuel Empires,” said Marissa Knodel, Climate Campaigner, Friends of the Earth. “He should seize this opportunity provided by Mother Nature to cancel this and all future oil and gas lease sales on public lands and waters.”
“The days of ‘all of the above’ energy are over. With a global climate deal under his belt, it's great to see President Obama modeling what real climate leadership looks like: keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Coal down, oil and gas to go,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director with 350.org.