For Immediate Release, December 3, 2019

Contact:

Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414, tmckinnon@biologicaldiversity.org

Legal Filing Challenges Trump Administration Failure to Halt Fossil Fuel Expansion in 20-year Plan for Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma

HOUSTON— The Center for Biological Diversity is challenging the Trump administration’s plan to expand federal fossil-fuel extraction in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. The new resource management plan would allow leasing and extraction of oil and gas on 4.4 million acres of publicly owned lands and minerals and coal extraction on nearly 1.7 million acres.

The Center’s legal protest, filed Monday, challenges the Bureau of Land Management’s failure to align public lands management with climate needs by phasing out new fossil-fuel leasing and extraction. The protest also says the BLM failed to analyze potential harm from fossil fuel extraction to wildlife, rivers, air quality and drinking water.

“We urgently need to stop burning fossil fuels, but instead the Trump administration is flooring the gas,” said Taylor McKinnon, a senior campaigner at the Center. “Each new lease locks in pollution our climate can’t afford.”

The protest comes as leaders from nearly 200 countries are in Madrid for the COP 25 U.N. Climate Change Conference. In advance of the meeting, the United Nations Environment Program issued a report showing that world governments plan to produce 120 percent more fossil fuels by 2030 than is consistent with avoiding 1.5°C of warming.

“There are twice the fossil fuels primed for extraction than can be safely burned, so committing even more public land to extraction defies common sense,” said McKinnon. “The Trump administration’s public lands policies are an unmitigated climate disaster.”

Oil and gas extraction resulting from the federal plan threatens to worsen air pollution in areas already exceeding federal standards, including San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. It could also lead to new fracking near dozens of lakes and dams, including municipal water supplies for Dallas, Corpus Christi, Oklahoma City and other communities.

The plans also would allow fracking and drilling along a 116-mile stretch of the Red River.

In addition to its resource management plan for Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, the Trump administration is revising 20-year plans to expand fossil-fuel extraction in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and California. Federal fossil-fuel production accounts for about a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas pollution.

Background

Peer-reviewed studies estimate that a 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.

Federal fossil fuels that have not yet been leased to the industry contain up to 450 billion tons of potential climate pollution. Those already leased contain up to 43 billion tons. Leased federal oil, gas and coal are projected to last until 2055, 2044 and 2041, respectively, given the Energy Information Administration’s 2016 “reference case” for fossil fuel production.

Existing laws provide executive authority to stop federal leasing on public lands and oceans. Hundreds of organizations have petitioned the federal government to end new onshore and offshore federal fossil fuel leasing.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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