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Sierra Club Submits Comments on Federal Oil and Gas Drilling Plan

WASHINGTON - Late yesterday, the Sierra Club submitted technical comments on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new standard for hydraulic fracturing on public lands.

The BLM oversees more than 700 million acres of mineral resources across forty of the United States, an enormous responsibility, considering the wide range of environmental and public health threats posed by oil and gas drilling and fracking. 

In addition to the public and Native American lands that must be protected from destructive drilling, millions of Americans live, work, and go to school near or on oil and gas resources and are counting on the federal government to protect their water, air, health and their children’s future from the dangers of drilling and fracking. 

“The millions of Americans who would be affected by oil and gas drilling deserve rigorous, fully protective standards in place,” said Deb Nardone, Beyond Natural Gas campaign director for the Sierra Club. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case today, and the BLM’s current standards are insufficient.”

“Given the growing body of evidence around the dangers of fracking, Americans need and deserve urgent and meaningful action from BLM.  With these new standards, BLM has an opportunity to reduce threats to public health and the environment.  BLM has the responsibility of protecting local, regional and national resources, and leading the way for much-needed health protections to respect the quality of life and economic integrity of local communities near federal lands.”    

The technical comments submitted by the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, EarthJustice, Earthworks, Environment America, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Western Outdoor Resource Council included recommendations to:

  • Establish areas that should be completely off-limits to oil and gas drilling;
  • Institute safe “setback” distances of drilling activity from schools, hospitals, and drinking water supplies; 
  • Ensure adequate well casing and water protections;
  • Strengthen insufficient disclosure standards for oil and gas companies;
  • Protect National Parks from drilling;
  • Ban the use of toxic diesel in fracking fluids.
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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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