Industry News

Coalition Calls on Obama to Halt Fossil Fuel Leasing on Public Oceans, Lands

A coalition of more than 400 organizations and leaders delivered a historic letter to the White House on 15 September, calling on President Obama to stop new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and oceans in the United States.

The letter argues that, by keeping publicly owned fossil fuels that haven’t already been leased to industry in the ground, President Obama can keep nearly half of the potential emissions from all remaining U.S. fossil fuels, up to 450 billion tons, from the global pool of potential carbon pollution.

Hundreds of prominent organizations and leaders from Alaska to Florida signed the letter, among them tribal leaders, labor unions, scientists, religious leaders, public interest groups and climate activists, including: Bill McKibben, Winona LaDuke, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Dr. Noam Chomsky, Dr. Michael Mann, Tim DeChristopher, Dr. Stuart Pimm, United Auto Workers Union, Unitarian Universalist Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Protect Our Winters, Rainforest Action Network, 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Food & Water Watch, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, WildEarth Guardians and hundreds of others.

"I would ask that you put yourself in our place,” said Cherri Foytlin of Bridge the Gulf, “Over five years have passed since BP's broken promises spewed as easily from their tongues as the oil did from their broken pipe. To this day our peoples and ecosystems suffer from BP's brutal, callous, and lasting assault.”

Foytin added that after all the damage BP caused, they “not only remain free to continue their patterns of destruction, they are subsidized by our government to do it.”

The American public owns nearly 650 million acres of federal public land, and more than 1.7 billion acres of Outer Continental Shelf — and the fossil fuels beneath them. This includes federal public lands like national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges that make up about a third of the U.S. land area — and oceans like Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard. These places and fossil fuels are held in trust for the public by the federal government; federal fossil fuel leasing is administered by the Department of the Interior.

Read Letter here.

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