Saturday, August 27, 2016

Enviros Pick Climate Fight with Feds, Seek to Rein In Leasing

A pumpjack bobs on public lands in Utah. (Photo Credit: WildEarth Guardians) Click to Enlarge.
Backers of the "keep it in the ground" movement have taken their efforts up a notch, asking a federal court to force the Obama administration to consider the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public lands.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility argued that the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management failed to weigh the climate impacts for at least 397 leases issued since early 2015.  The leases represent a combined 380,000 acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

The lawsuit is one of the broadest challenges to federal oil and gas leasing to date, asking the court to freeze action on the contested leases until BLM performs an in-depth analysis of climate impacts from development on public lands.  Without closer attention to climate impacts, the groups say, leasing undermines President Obama's efforts to mitigate climate change.

"In spite of the President's commitment to U.S. leadership in moving towards a clean energy future," the complaint says.  "Federal Defendants continue to authorize the sale and issuance of hundreds of federal oil and gas leases on public lands across the Interior West without meaningfully acknowledging or evaluating the climate change implications of their actions."

The lawsuit comes as the "keep it in the ground" movement gains traction across the West — with several environmental groups and grass-roots activists protesting lease sales and pressuring government officials to prioritize government action.

Read more at Enviros Pick Climate Fight with Feds, Seek to Rein In Leasing

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