Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interior Secretary Says Climate Change Must Factor into Decisions to Drill on Public Lands

United States Interior Secretary Sally Jewell talks with park rangers during a tour of Jamestown Island in Jamestown, Va., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (Credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber) Click to Enlarge.
Secretary Sally Jewell yesterday called for reform to the way that the Department of the Interior manages America’s energy resources in order to address the causes of climate change.

In a bold speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Secretary Jewell outlined the Department of the Interior’s energy priorities and laid out three goals of “safe and responsible energy development, good government, and encouraging innovation” in the final two years of the Obama Administration.

Jewell said that Interior needs to do more to cut carbon pollution, which “should inform our decisions about where we develop, how we develop, and what we develop.”

The Department of the Interior manages the nation’s energy resources, including the coal, oil and gas, located on more than 500 million acres of public land across the country, and more than 1.7 billion acres offshore.

Jewell emphasized the need for balance in the management of the nation’s resources as a key part of the Department’s role in addressing the causes of climate change.

“My responsibility to my grandchildren’s generation is at the top of my mind with every decision we make,” she said, stressing that any new energy development on public lands should be also matched with new protections for lands and waters.  “[T]hat is why we must — we must — do more to cut greenhouse gas pollution that is warming our planet.”
In addition to stressing the need to balance development and conservation, the Secretary highlighted efforts to reduce methane emissions, increase renewable energy production, and ensure that taxpayers receive a fair return for resources extracted on public lands, specifically from taxpayer-owned coal.  Recent reports have shown that coal companies are exploiting loopholes in Interior’s policies to avoid paying full royalties owed to taxpayers, costing taxpayers more than $1 billion every year.

Stating that “most Americans would be surprised to know that coal companies can make a winning bid for about a dollar a ton to mine taxpayer-owned coal,” Jewell called for “an honest and open conversation about modernizing the federal coal program.”

Read more at Interior Secretary Says Climate Change Must Factor into Decisions to Drill on Public Lands

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