Climate bill sacrifices public lands, locks out Indigenous and Frontline communities

This week, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which many are hailing as the panacea for fighting climate change. While this sweeping bill makes important investments in a number of policies, we here at WildEarth Guardians can’t overlook major provisions that lock in fossil fuel extraction on public lands while locking out Indigenous and Frontline communities.

Continued oil and gas leasing on public lands, tax credits for dirty coal companies, and wildfire funding that doesn’t change how agencies manage public lands undermine many of the promised benefits of this climate bill.

Many of you have joined our fight to stop new leasing and drilling on public lands. Your continued support is more important than ever.

Our team at Guardians recognizes that we still have a lot of work to do. While this bill makes significant strides forward, we must continue pushing additional policies and agency changes that put keeping dirty fossil fuels in the ground at the forefront of climate solutions. We are redoubling our commitment to Indigenous and Frontline communities that are calling for no new leasing to protect our air, our water, our health, and our livelihoods.

5 things you should know about the climate bill:

  1. This legislation acknowledges we need to take bold steps and make big financial investments to fight climate change. We cannot overstate how important it is for our elected leaders to come together to find solutions to the climate crisis.
  2. When given a chance, though, Congress allowed the good in this bill to be watered down by provisions that prop up polluters and expand fossil fuel leasing on public lands.
  3. The bold steps outlined in this legislation may actually accelerate fossil fuel expansion and leasing on public lands, which will only fuel the climate crisis. The president’s signature on this bill locks in new rules that could open up new oil and gas leasing for at least another decade. That’s time we don’t have.
  4. Climate action must be centered on environmental and climate justice. This is especially important for the Indigenous and Frontline communities that bear the brunt of continued oil and gas extraction and development. Locking in more fossil fuel exploitation ignores the impacts Indigenous and Frontline communities are facing.
  5. Protecting public lands from fossil fuel extraction must be part of our solution to the compounding climate and biodiversity crises. Instead of keeping it in the ground, this bill ignores the major pollution and climate impacts from expanded drilling and mining on public lands.

We simply cannot frack, drill, and burn our way to climate action. We must keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground and stop selling America’s public lands and waters to the fossil fuel industry. This is why your support of Guardians is more important than ever.

Please consider making a donation of $25, $50, $100, or more to enable our work of advancing meaningful climate policies and change—we can’t do it without you.

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About the Author

John Horning | Executive Director, WildEarth Guardians

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