Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Kyle Tisdel, director of the Western Environmental Law Center's Energy and Communities Program, said in a statement that the judge's ruling on Tuesday is a "powerful reality check on the Trump administration." (Photo: Wendy Shattil/Bob Rozinksi/Creative Commons)

'Triumph for Our Climate': Judge Blocks Fracking on 300,000 Acres of Public Land

"With the science mounting that we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases, this ruling is monumental. Every acre of our public land sold to the oil and gas industry is another blow to the climate."

Jake Johnson

A federal judge late Tuesday temporarily blocked fracking on over 300,000 acres in Wyoming, ruling the Interior Department illegally failed to consider the climate impact of leasing public land to oil and gas developers.

"With the science mounting that we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases, this ruling is monumental."
—Kyle Tisdel, Western Environmental Law Center

"This ruling is a triumph for our climate," Jeremy Nichols, director of WildEarth Guardians' Climate and Energy Program, said in a statement.

"To limit greenhouse gas emissions, we have to start keeping our fossil fuels in the ground and putting an end to selling public lands for fracking," added Nichols. "This decision is a critical step toward making that happen."

U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras' landmark decision was focused on the Trump administration's land sales in Wyoming, but environmentalists said the ruling could have national implications.

"It calls into question the legality of the Trump administration's entire oil and gas program," Nichols told the Washington Post. "This forces them to pull their head out of the sand and look at the bigger picture."

In his ruling (pdf), Contreras ordered the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to redo its analysis of hundreds of drilling projects in Wyoming to account for their potential climate impacts.

"Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling," Contreras wrote.

During his first two years in the White House, President Donald Trump auctioned off millions of acres of federal land to oil and gas developers.

According to a New York Times analysis last October, "more than 12.8 million acres of federally controlled oil and gas parcels were offered for lease" in 2018.

Kyle Tisdel, director of the Western Environmental Law Center's Energy and Communities Program, said in a statement that the judge's ruling on Tuesday is a "powerful reality check on the Trump administration and a potent tool for reining in climate pollution."

"With the science mounting that we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases, this ruling is monumental," Tisdel said. "Every acre of our public land sold to the oil and gas industry is another blow to the climate."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Bid to Conceal Records From Jan. 6 Panel

One government watchdog group welcomed the decision as "a huge win for transparency."

Jessica Corbett ·


Jayapal, Lee Resolution Promotes More Peaceful US Foreign Policy

"It's far past time we take our foreign policy into the 21st century," said Rep. Barbara Lee. "We should be leading with diplomacy and human needs as the path to global security."

Brett Wilkins ·


Anti-War Veterans Group Issues Its Own 'Nuclear Posture Review'

Released ahead of a Biden administration report, the assessment warns that the danger of nuclear war is greater than ever.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics Warn Puerto Rico Debt Plan Will Lead to More Austerity

"The island's ability to resume growth and avoid cuts in anti-poverty programs are both chief concerns," said one economic justice advocate.

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders, Rights Groups to Biden: End Immigration Detention

"People are losing their lives to a detention system that simply does not need to exist," said one immigrant rights advocate.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo