WASHINGTON— Indigenous, climate and conservation groups, including members of frontline New Mexico communities, will hold a press conference Wednesday at the U.S. Interior Department before delivering letters and petitions from more than 1,000 groups containing millions of signatures calling for an end to federal oil, gas and coal extraction.
What: Press conference to discuss calls from millions to end fossil fuel extraction on federal public lands and waters
When: 2 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13
Where: In front of U.S. Interior Department Headquarters, 1849 C Street NW Washington, D.C.
Who: Speakers from Greater Chaco Coalition, WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club
Joining with People vs Fossil Fuels actions at the White House this week, the groups will call on President Biden to keep his promise to end federal fossil fuel leasing, drilling and mining on public lands and oceans. The federal fossil fuels programs are responsible for more than one quarter of U.S. climate emissions.
Wednesday’s action comes two weeks after groups filed formal comments on the Biden administration’s coal program review and protested its plans to offer 734,000 acres of public lands for oil and gas leasing amid what the president himself has called a climate “code red.”
Since 2015 groups from across the United States have called for an end to federal oil, gas and coal leasing and extraction, waging hundreds of administrative, legal and on-the-ground challenges to new commitments of federal fossil fuels that contain billions of tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution. The federal fossil fuels programs are incompatible with the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Fossil fuel extraction on public lands causes about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. By itself, federal coal mining causes 11% of those emissions. Peer-reviewed science estimates that a nationwide federal fossil fuel leasing ban would reduce carbon emissions by 280 million tons per year, ranking it among the most ambitious federal climate policy proposals in recent years.
Oil, gas and coal extraction uses mines, well pads, gas lines, roads and other infrastructure that destroys habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species. Oil spills and other harms from offshore drilling have done immense damage to ocean wildlife and coastal communities. Fracking and mining also pollute watersheds and waterways that provide drinking water to millions of people.
Federal fossil fuels that have not been leased to industry contain up to 450 billion tons of potential climate pollution; those already leased to industry contain up to 43 billion tons. Pollution from the world’s already producing oil and gas fields, if fully developed, would push global warming well past 1.5 degrees Celsius.