Lawmakers Side with the Fossil Fuel Industry in Push for Online Lease Sales for Drilling on Public Lands and Oceans

For Immediate Release

Marissa Knodel, Friends of the Earth,, 202-222-0729


Tim Ream, WildEarth Guardians,, 541-531-8541


Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity,, (801) 300-2414


Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network,, 415-238-1766


Kaitlin Butler, Science and Environmental Health Network,, 801-910-4820  


Cherri Foytlin, Bold Louisiana,, 334-462-4484


Jayeesha Dutta, Radical Arts and Healing Collective,, 510-847-7990


Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade,, 504-484-3433

Lawmakers Side with the Fossil Fuel Industry in Push for Online Lease Sales for Drilling on Public Lands and Oceans

President Obama has a clear choice: stand up for the climate or cater to fossil fuel interests

This week, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed a bill that would require lease sales for offshore oil and gas drilling to be held online rather than in person. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has already moved to shift an onshore public lands auction – originally planned to take place in Washington, DC in September – to be held online.
This shift is clearly a response to the mounting pressure from more than a thousand local citizens and activists, who have protested these auctions in communities across the country as part 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.
Moving the auctions online serves one purpose: to make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to take control of our public lands, shielded from public scrutiny and input.
Facing the threat of catastrophic climate change, President Obama should be ending new drilling on public lands and oceans, not making it easier for the fossil fuel industry to lock us into decades of new extraction of dirty fuels.
Now the administration has a clear choice: take action in keeping with our international climate commitments or cater to the fossil fuel industry.
Marissa Knodel, Climate Change Campaigner, Friends of the Earth: “New fossil fuel leasing is wrong for people and the planet. Moving lease sales online will only make it easier for fossil fuel companies to get away with turning our public lands and waters into energy sacrifice zones. Across the nation, the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground is gaining strength and momentum. Congress must listen to the voices of the people calling for a safe climate future and just transition to a renewable energy economy, not the fossil fuel industry.”
Kaitlin Butler, Program Director, Science and Environmental Health Network: “There’s a lot going on on public lands.  Pipelines continue to leak, oil trains explode, thousands of abandoned mines have not been cleaned up.  Bankrupt coal companies are discarding workers and slashing health benefits and pensions; the miners who have kept the lights on deserve better.  This is your chance President Obama to leave a climate legacy and a public lands legacy for your children and your grandchildren. We do this for Sasha and Malia and all children. Join us.”
Tim Ream, Climate and Energy Campaign Director, WildEarth Guardians: “The Obama Administration has leased 10 million acres of public lands to the oil and gas industry, the majority of which aren't even being drilled; there are thousands of public lands wells abandoned by bankrupt companies that have never been reclaimed; and climate change is breaking records every month. And the one change the Administration proposes is to make it easier to sell more land rights. That's just shameful."
Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity: “Moving fossil fuel auctions online still doesn’t hide the dangerous disconnect between the administration’s climate rhetoric and its fossil fuel leasing. The clock is ticking on the climate crisis, and each new lease makes a bad problem worse. It’s time for the president to shut the federal carbon pollution spigot for good.”
Anne Rolfes, Founding Director, Louisiana Bucket Brigade: “This bill is about circumventing public scrutiny. It says a lot when the public is so disgusted with Big Oil that they have to retreat and hide. They can change the rules but not the facts: they are destroying our health and our planet, and we are here to stop them.”

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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