For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Trey Pollard, Sierra Club, (202) 495-3058

Sierra Club Statement on GAO Oil and Mining Report Findings

WASHINGTON - This morning, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report – requested by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) – revealing massive taxpayer losses related to the destructive extraction of fossil fuels and the mining of hard rock minerals from publicly held lands.

The report notes there is a huge discrepancy between the value of oil, gas, and coal removed from public lands and the amount actually paid in royalties by fossil fuel companies. In addition, the report finds there is a total lack of disclosure for the value of the gold, silver, uranium, and other resources mined from public lands by companies raking in billions of dollars in profits but paying nothing in royalties. That mining is still governed by a law signed into effect by President Ulysses S. Grant.

The full report is available here:

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune Released the Following Statement in Response:

“This report provides an answer to anyone wondering why big polluters are so eager to get their hands on our public lands: big oil and mining companies get bargain basement deals to destroy the mountains, valleys, and rivers owned by everyone else while raking in billions in profits.

These big companies are the worst possible tenants American taxpayers could have, devastating the property they have been trusted with by sacrificing our lands and poisoning our water – and then getting rewarded for it. 

Congressman Grijalva and Senator Udall have done American taxpayers a tremendous service by demanding transparency from the big oil and mining companies pillaging our public lands for their limitless profits. Now, it’s time for Congress to act to not just ensure taxpayers get a square deal, but to protect the lands that belong to all of us from exploitation at the hands of just a few companies who deserve to be evicted.”


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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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