Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 26, 2017

Contact:  Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (801) 300-2414
Darcey Rakestraw, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-2467
Ben Schreiber, Friends of the Earth, (202) 280-8743
Mark Antoniewicz, Hip Hop Caucus (202) 870-8476
Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 238-1766
Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians, (303) 437-7663

118 Groups Urge Trump to Ban Fracking on Public Lands

WASHINGTON— Social justice, public health, faith, tribal, wildlife and climate groups representing millions of Americans are calling on the Trump administration to ban fracking on America’s public lands.

In a letter to President Trump, 118 groups said the administration’s plan to rescind Obama-era fracking rules would be a disaster for public lands, public health and wildlife, and worsen global warming. The letter urges the Trump administration to adopt a rule that protects public land, water, public health, endangered species and the climate by banning fracking altogether. 

Fracking destroys public lands and wildlife habitat with networks of fracking wells, compressor stations, pipelines and roads. Injecting toxic wastewater into the ground pollutes rivers and groundwater, causes earthquakes that damage infrastructure and property, and pollutes the air with dangerous toxins linked to human illness and death. Oil and gas production on public land contributes significantly to U.S. greenhouse gas pollution.

According to a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of federal data, the Trump administration will offer more than 1.5 million acres of public lands in 14 states for leasing to the fracking industry in 2017. Those lands contain more than 3,800 acres of critical habitat for endangered species and 42,000 acres within one mile of dams that could be threatened by fracking-induced earthquakes. The parcels also contain more than 100 million barrels of crude oil and 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas which, if developed, would cause carbon-dioxide pollution equivalent to driving a passenger car about 297 billion miles, or nearly 12 million trips around the Earth.

“The time to end fossil fuel expansion is now, starting with America’s public lands,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Recent climate disasters in Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and South Asia demand action. Sacrificing public lands, endangered species and human lives for corporate profit is dangerous public policy.”

“With the proposed repeal of this already too weak rule, the Trump administration is once again prioritizing fossil fuel industry profits and flying in the face of climate science,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “This move to deregulate fracking on public lands takes us 100 percent in the wrong direction, when what we really need to do is ban fracking now.”

“The human cost of the climate crisis is undeniable, and the solution to this emergency is clear: an immediate stop to the expansion of fossil fuel development,” said Ruth Breech, senior campaigner on climate and energy with Rainforest Action Network. “Additional fracking on public lands moves us further towards climate disaster. Expanding fracking on public lands is dangerous and harmful to the land and its people. Public lands are to be managed for the public good, destroying these lands for short term profit will leave them degraded for future generations.”

“The American people want to end leasing on public lands and keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist with Friends of the Earth. “Perhaps that’s why Secretary Zinke seems to be rushing to give as much of our public lands to his friends in Big Oil as possible while he’s in charge of the Interior Department.”

“The Department of Interior's backtracking on the fracking rule is truly backwards. Right now our fellow American citizens across the Gulf Coast and Caribbean are fighting for their lives, as some of the world's strongest storms on record devastate their communities,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior vice president of climate, environmental justice and community revitalization with Hip Hop Caucus. “The urgent need to address climate change has never been more apparent. This is yet another action by the Trump administration that demonstrates that they value profits over people.” 

“President Trump's push to open up American public lands for fracking is nothing short of death sentence for clean air, pure water, our climate, and sacred landscapes,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy program director. “We can’t afford to let the oil and gas industry and their Trump administration cronies turn our public lands into their industrial wasteland.”

Signatories to the letter include:

350 Bay Area, 350 Colorado, 350 Silicon Valley,, 500 Women Scientists, Allegheny Defense Project, Athens County (OH) Fracking Action Network, Basin and Range Watch, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, Californians Against Fracking & Dangerous Drilling, Canyon Country Rising Tide, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Chaco Alliance, Citizens Against Ruining the Environment, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, Climate Hawks Vote, Climate Law & Policy Project, Courage Campaign, Culver City Citizen Activists, Daily Kos, Dallas Sierra Club, Earth Action, Inc., Earth Care, Eco-Justice Ministries, Ecoflight, Environment Georgia, Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church, Environmental Protection Information Center, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco, Food & Water Watch, Foundation for Global Sustainability, Friends of Alhambra Creek, Friends of Bell Smith Springs, Friends of Eel River, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Friends of Pogonip, Friends of the Earth, Fund for Wild Nature, Grassroots Coalition, Greater Hells Canyon Council, Green Party of Monterey County, Green Retirement, Inc., Heartwood, Hip Hop Caucus, Idaho Sporting Congress, Inc., Illinois People's Action, Indigenous Environmental Network, Kentucky Conservation Committee, Kentucky Environmental Foundation, Kentucky Heartwood, Kentucky Resources Council, Klamath Forest Alliance KS Wild, Living Rivers & Colorado Riverkeeper, Local Clean Energy Alliance, Los Padres ForestWatch, Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, Native Plant Conservation Campaign, Navajo Research Associates, New Energy Economy, Northcoast Environmental Center, Oil Change International, Partnership for Policy Integrity, People Demanding Action, Persisters, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Chapter, PNM Shareholders for a Responsible Future, Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Power Shift Network, Progressive Democrats of America, Protect Monterey County, Public Lands Project, Rainforest Action Network, Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, Rootskeeper, Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment, Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition, Sequoia ForestKeeper, Shawnee Forest Sentinels, Sierra Club, SLO Clean Water, SoCal 350 Climate Action, Social Justice Commission - Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, Song to Gaia, South Florida Audubon Society, South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership, Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Southwest Environmental Center, Spottswoode Winery, Sunflower Alliance, Surfrider Foundation, Sustainable Arizona, Tennessee Heartwood, The Land Connection Foundation, The Lands Council, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Umpqua Watersheds, Inc., United Native Americans, Uranium Watch, Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, U.S. Province, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, VINE Sanctuary, Virginia Organizing, Vitaletherapeutics, Inc., Waterkeeper Alliance, West LA Democratic Club, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Western Environmental Law Center, Western Watersheds Project, Wild Horse Education, Wild Nature Institute, Wild Virginia, WildEarth Guardians

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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