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Public Lands Bills Would Strip Federal Regulation of Fossil Fuels, Give Away 7 Million Acres in Nevada

WASHINGTON - The Center for Biological Diversity today condemned three bills being considered in the lame-duck session of Congress that would strip federal regulation from all forms of energy production on America’s public lands and give away 7.2 million acres of federal land in Nevada.

“These bills, sponsored by extreme right-wing Republican lawmakers, would be a disaster for Americans who own and treasure these public lands,” said Randi Spivak, director of the Center’s Public Lands program. “These bills are nothing more than a green light for big energy to exploit our shared resources for the enrichment of private corporations, while silencing the public, contributing to climate chaos and guaranteeing harm to imperiled wildlife.”

Two of the bills, H.R. 866 and S. 490, would essentially give states control over oil, gas and coal extraction and development on public lands, exempting fracking, drilling and mining from bedrock environmental protections such as the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, which allow citizen participation in environmental decision-making and assess the environmental consequences of proposed projects.

The third bill, H.R. 1484, would hand over 7.2 million acres of federal land in Nevada to state ownership, where there’s an increased likelihood they’ll be exploited by the fossil fuel industry or other extractive industries.

“America’s public lands, and the wildlife that call them home, are our natural heritage,” Spivak said. “We can’t allow Congress and its well-heeled backers to steal and destroy these precious places.”


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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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