By Dan Bacher, Daily Kos
WASHINGTON— On April 15, the U.S. Department of Interior announced that it will resume oil and gas leasing on public lands throughout the West in June. Today, climate, conservation and community groups from across the country filed administrative protests challenging these plans.
The groups say President Joe Biden “should end new leasing to heed his own climate goals while protecting communities, water and wildlife,” according to a press statement from a coalition of groups.
Today’s protests say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management isn’t legally required to conduct lease sales and that its plans fail to prevent climate pollution and harm to people and the environment. They also say the leasing plans also ignore the incompatibility of federal fossil fuel expansion with the U.S. goal of avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.
Following the administration’s brief pause on new oil leasing, the June lease sales, involve 144,000 acres in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah, with a majority of acres in Wyoming.
The Department of Interior said the decision to sell the leases follows a court injunction mandating these sales while the government appeals.
“In compliance with an injunction from the Western District of Louisiana, the Department of the Interior is taking action that reflects the balanced approach to energy development and management of our nation’s public lands called for in the agency’s November 2021 report on the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program,” according to an announcement from the Secretary of Interior.