WildEarth Guardians today filed a lawsuit to get Colorado back on track for climate action.
The legal action comes as Governor Jared Polis and his administration missed a July 1, 2020 deadline to ensure the state meets legally required greenhouse gas reduction targets, including a 26% reduction in emissions by 2025, a 50% reduction by 2030, and a 90% reduction by 2050.
In missing the July 1, 2020 deadline, Governor Polis isn’t just jeopardizing the state’s commitment to confronting the climate crisis, he’s also putting the state’s goal of climate justice at risk.
As we wrote earlier this week together with our friends with GreenLatinos, a lack of meaningful climate action puts disproportionately impacted people and communities, including those living in the shadow of the Suncor oil refinery north of Denver, at great risk.
Take Action! We need your help to really secure climate justice in Colorado. Tell Governor Jared Polis it’s time for real climate action.
We’ve highlighted before how New Mexico’s plan to let the oil and gas industry dump their toxic waste onto crops and into the state’s streams is a horrible idea that threatens to undermine climate progress.
Sadly, despite calls for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to put the brakes on these plans, her administration has decided to kick things into high gear.
At the end of June, the state’s Oil Conservation Commission announced it intends to amend its regulations to make it easier for the oil and gas industry to transport and use its toxic waste while drilling and fracking.
Worse, the proposed regulations would even authorize the dumping and discharge of this waste outside of oil and gas producing regions.
While billed as regulating “produced water,” the fluids that would be regulated under the Commission’s proposed rules are anything but water. As reports across the U.S. have found, this “water” is actually a toxic cocktail of radioactive materials, heavy metals, proprietary fracking chemicals, and other contaminants that is known to be dangerous.
The Oil Conservation Commission’s proposed regulations seem benign, but within the details lurks a disturbing devil. For example:
- The rules would allow oil and gas companies to use and transport “produced water” when drilling and fracking, provided that public health, the environment, and fresh water are protected. Unfortunately, there exist no standards or safeguards to actually protect public health, the environment, and fresh water from “produced water.” In fact, this waste is considered too toxic to treat. There is no way for the Commission to ensure that the use and transport of the oil and gas industry’s toxic waste will protect workers, groundwater, surface waters, and otherwise ensure the environment is not contaminated.
- The rules would allow the oil and gas industry to discharge or otherwise dump its toxic waste outside of oil and gas producing areas. Although the rules would allow this only where approved by the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, they explicitly imply that the Commission will at some point adopt rules that will actually allow the dumping of “produced water” onto lands and in streams. This is a scary proposition considering that there are no known methods to safely treat this waste. The Oil Conservation Commission’s rules appear to set the stage for a more insidious plan to allow companies to dump their toxic waste into our environment.
Overall, the Oil Conservation Commission’s rules would set a dangerous precedent. Rather than help New Mexico transition away from reliance on oil and gas, they would further entrench and enshrine the industry, jeopardizing the state’s health, environment, and its ability to confront the climate crisis.
The Oil Conservation Commission is holding a virtual public hearing on July 30 on their proposed regulations. Stay tuned for more information as we continue to dig in to protect New Mexico’s clean water.
We can’t afford to let New Mexico get fracked!
Colorado Governor Jared Polis and his administration yesterday missed a legally required deadline to propose new climate regulations, further setting back progress toward curbing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the state.
By law, the Polis administration was required to propose new regulations to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction targets by July 1, 2020. That day has now passed with no new regulations.
With reports confirming the state was already not on track to meet its climate goals, WildEarth Guardians is stepping up to soon file suit to enforce the July 1, 2020 deadline and upping calls for Governor Polis to fulfill his commitment to climate progress in Colorado.
The Polis administration’s lack of effective climate action isn’t just jeopardizing the state’s ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a major environmental justice concern. Landmark climate legislation passed in 2019 required the state to prioritize reducing greenhouse gases where emissions disproportionately impact Black and Latino communities, low income neighborhoods, and Indigenous peoples.
Calls for Governor Polis to confront environmental racism and advance environmental and climate justice have mounted in the wake of the George Floyd protests, emphasizing that social inequities are directly related to environmental inequities.
In spite of some positive steps to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, the Polis administration has fallen behind in achieving meaningful reductions. A recent letter from Polis’ Air Pollution Control Division confirms that current progress is “not sufficient” to meet the state’s legally required climate milestones.
In response to Colorado’s missed climate deadline, WildEarth Guardians is doubling down on calls for Governor Polis to:
- Immediately suspend approving air pollution permits for new sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Help retire the state’s largest industrial sources of climate pollution, including the Suncor oil refinery in north Denver, as quickly as possible.
- Commit Colorado to achieving 100% renewable electricity generation by 2030.
- Phase out fracking in the state by 2025.
Under House Bill 1261, which passed and was signed into the law by Governor Polis in 2019, Colorado must reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050.
[BREAKING: Speak out today to defend Greater Chaco from fracking! Tell the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs NO MORE BROKEN PROMISES!]
[And PLEASE, support COVID-19 relief efforts in the Far Eastern Chapters of the Navajo Nation, click here to donate >>]
The Trump Administration’s push to open up public lands for fracking has hit a callous new low in the Greater Chaco region as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management barrels ahead to approve more than 3,000 new oil and gas wells even as impacted Indigenous communities bear the brunt of a major COVID-19 outbreak.
The Greater Chaco region of northwest New Mexico is the sacred heart of the American Southwest. It’s home to Chaco Canyon and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over a thousand years ago, it was the realm of the Chacoan people, the ancestral Puebloans who constructed kivas and dwellings across the landscape.
Today, Pueblo people still maintain a living and spiritual connection to the landscape and it sustains Navajo and New Mexico communities.
While Chaco Canyon is at the core of the Greater Chaco landscape, the “Chaco World” extended far beyond, even into northeast Arizona, southwest Colorado, and southeast Utah.
Sacred Lands Under Siege by Fracking
For years now, Greater Chaco has been under attack by the oil and gas industry.
With the advent of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, companies have tapped previously unreachable geologic formations using destructive industrial development. Much of this development has occurred under the watch of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees more than two million acres of public lands and minerals in the region.
Since 2013, the Bureau of Land Management has permitted more than five hundred fracking wells in Greater Chaco. With more than 90% of all lands in the region leased to the oil and gas industry for drilling, the threat looms large.
This drilling has utterly transformed and degraded the landscape, fueling more air pollution, more safety concerns, more truck traffic, and more industrial development where there previously was none.
It’s also put the health and welfare of adjacent Navajo communities more at risk than ever.
Frack Off Chaco
Fortunately, the Bureau of Land Management’s relentless push to drill and frack in Greater Chaco has galvanized a movement.
To begin with, the Frack Off Greater Chaco Coalition emerged, uniting Indigenous community leaders, Native groups, nonprofits, and public lands and water protectors around the call to stop fracking in the region.
As part of this coalition, we joined with Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, San Juan Citizens Alliance, NRDC, and the Western Environmental Law Center to win an unprecedented legal challenge to fracking in Greater Chaco.
Most recently, the Navajo Nation and All Pueblo Council of Governors, National Congress of American Indians, 15 Navajo Chapter Houses, the New Mexico Legislature, the New Mexico State Land Office, and over 500,000 people have called on the agency to stop fracking Greater Chaco.
Federal legislation was also introduced by New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation to increase protections. Called the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, the bill would take the first steps toward protecting this landscape by making the 10 mile area around Chaco Canyon off limits to drilling.
“It’s important that we protect Chaco Canyon, both because it is a sacred place that should be valued the same way we value other sacred places, but also because public lands must be protected.”
– New Mexico U.S. Representative, Deb Haaland
At one point, even the Bureau of Land Management seemed to be coming around.
In 2013, the agency announced it needed to update a 2003 management plan for the Farmington Field Office, which encompasses most of the Greater Chaco region. Promising to be accountable to Tribes and the public, the Bureau of Land Management, together with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, committed to strengthening safeguards to protect cultural values and health.
From October 2016 to February 2017, the agencies held 10 public meetings and received thousands of comments to guide the development of the new plan.
In response, the agencies released a “scoping report,” promising the new plan would address climate change, water and soil resources, environmental justice, the “Chaco Cultural Landscape,” public health and safety, Tribal interests, truck traffic and road conditions, wildlife, and other issues impacted by fracking.
Sadly, the agencies have now reneged on their promises.
In March, the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs released their draft management plan. Sadly, the plan opens the door for more fracking and stands to leave the cultural integrity and health of the Greater Chaco region more vulnerable than ever.
Under the various alternatives, the agencies project between 2,345 and 3,101 new oil and gas wells in the Farmington Field Office.
The plan would also make nearly a million acres available for sale to the oil and gas industry for more extraction. Many of these lands are in or near Navajo communities.
More Fracking in the Midst of a Health Crisis
The Bureau of Land Management’s proposed plan would sacrifice the Greater Chaco region’s cultural integrity, endanger communities, and jeopardize clean air, water, and the climate.
What’s worse is that the agency is plowing ahead to approve more fracking even as Indigenous communities are struggling with an outbreak of COVID-19.
Citing the burden of managing the COVID-19 health crisis within Tribal communities, there has been a near-unanimous call for the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs to extend the public comment period for its proposed plan. Tribal officials, Congressional leaders, state and local officials, and the general public have all spoken out.
In response, the agencies rejected the requests and instead scheduled a series of “virtual” public meetings, a move that has been widely condemned.
Pointing to a lack of adequate internet access within Tribal communities and the ongoing strain of the coronavirus pandemic, leaders, like U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland and Raul Grijalva, have ripped the agencies over their lack of compassion and sensitivity.
Not surprisingly, as the virtual meetings have unfolded, the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs have faced heated criticism. Tribal leaders, local officials, and members of the public have overwhelmingly delivered the message that the agency’s so-called public engagement is shameful, insulting, and racist.
#NewMexico Pueblo leaders resoundingly speaking out against @BLMNewMexico plans to expand fracking in #GreaterChaco region of NW New Mexico. Santa Clara Pueblo rep reams out agency! pic.twitter.com/hO00l5Ct0v
— WildEarth Guardians' Climate and Energy Program (@ClimateWest) May 15, 2020
A Call to Action
In the meantime, we’re stepping up the resistance more than ever.
And in the past few weeks, WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club, NRDC, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and many other organizations have reached out to millions of people calling on them to speak out and weigh in.
The big news is that on May 27, 2020, the Frack Off Greater Chaco Coalition will hold a People’s Hearing to Defend Greater Chaco, where it’s intended to provide a forum for all people to weigh in and interact.
While the hearing will be virtual and held over Zoom, the Coalition intends to read any and all comments submitted by people, to play videos or audio submitted, and to overall give people a forum to actually speak out.
Unlike the Bureau of Land Management’s virtual public meetings, there will be no time limits for public comment, nobody’s video turned off, and certainly no dead silence or elevator music.
Watch the video below to learn more about the People’s Hearing to Defend Greater Chaco!
We’re not going to back down until we’ve secured the protections the Greater Chaco region needs and deserves.
That means that we won’t relent in defending Greater Chaco until the Bureau of Land Management has agreed to stop selling public lands for fracking, has agreed to landscape-level cultural protections, and has agreed to wind down and ultimately phase out fracking entirely in the region.
The Greater Chaco region of northwest New Mexico is under siege by fracking. Despite calls from Tribal leaders, communities, and elected officials, the Trump administration is barreling ahead with plans to allow up to 3,000 new fracking wells in the region, which will bring more air pollution and more water contamination to this culturally integral landscape. Even worse, these plans come amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is hitting northwest New Mexico and the Navajo Nation particularly hard. This is a critical time for this critical issue, so please join us in pushing back, and stepping it up, to defend Greater Chaco.
Tweet to #ProtectChaco! We’ve assembled six ready-to-go tweets, complete with images and a link to the action alert. All you have to do is “grab-n-go” to help raise awareness and make a big difference in the defense of the Greater Chaco region. Thank you!
The Bureau of Land Management’s new plan for up to 3,000 additional #fracking wells in the Greater Chaco region fails to provide any assessment of the current impacts of fracking to human health and communities in the region. Act now to #ProtectChaco: https://guardiansaction.org/GreaterChaco
Ignoring previous promises to protect communities and the culture of the Greater Chaco region from #fracking, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to open the door for more than 3,000 new oil and gas wells in the region. Act now to #ProtectChaco: https://guardiansaction.org/GreaterChaco
It takes over three million gallons of water to frack a single oil and gas well in the Greater Chaco region. For every barrel of oil, 4-12 times as much toxic, radioactive waste is generated. Submit your comments to #ProtectChaco from more #fracking: https://guardiansaction.org/GreaterChaco
A Trump administration plan for managing #publiclands and minerals in northwestern New Mexico’s Greater Chaco region would sacrifice cultural integrity, endanger communities, and jeopardize #cleanair, water, and the #climate. Act now to #ProtectChaco: https://guardiansaction.org/GreaterChaco
The Greater Chaco region is home to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and ancestral pueblo kivas and dwellings. Sadly, the region has been under siege by #fracking. We have to fight back to #ProtectChaco: https://guardiansaction.org/GreaterChaco
Despite calls from Tribal leaders, communities, and elected officials, the Trump administration is barreling ahead with plans to allow even more #fracking, more air pollution and more water contamination in Greater Chaco region. Speak up to #ProtectChaco: https://guardiansaction.org/GreaterChaco
On April 30, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Farmington Field Office and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) denied requests to suspend the public comment period on the controversial oil and gas drilling plan for the Greater Chaco region. Instead the agencies are planning to hold four ‘virtual public meetings’ starting mid-May on a proposed plan to drill between 2,345 and 3,101 new oil and gas wells in the Greater Chaco Landscape.
With the third highest infection rate in the United States, the Navajo Nation is currently experiencing disproportionate impacts related to coronavirus, and communities are predisposed to exacerbated health risks due to existing fracking in the region. The agencies are exploiting shelter-in-place orders and discriminatory internet access on Tribal lands to steamroll industry’s plan to frack every available inch of the Greater Chaco Landscape. Since 2016, thousands of members of the Greater Chaco Coalition—which is comprised of more than 200 tribal, environmental, and community groups fighting for Greater Chaco protections—have rallied in front of BLM offices in New Mexico at each quarterly oil and gas lease sale, calling on the agency to rein in unchecked fracking.
“The administration’s offer to hold ‘virtual’ meetings is a callous attempt to propel polluter profit by exploiting a public health crisis. These efforts are criminal. Capitalizing off a pandemic to steamroll revenue-negative fracking is truly a new low,” said Rebecca Sobel, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner, WildEarth Guardians.
Read the press release.
In a victory for public lands, clean water, and the climate, a federal judge has reversed the Trump administration’s sale of nearly 150,000 acres—more than 230 square miles—to the oil and gas industry in Montana. The federal public lands sold by the Bureau of Land Management included almost 100,000 acres in the iconic Tongue River Valley of southeastern Montana and 26,000 acres near Livingston—the gateway to Yellowstone National Park—the Beartooth Front of south central Montana, and lands next to the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
The federal judge held the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated federal law when selling oil and gas leases underlying public lands in Montana in 2017 and 2018. Specifically, the judge found the agency illegally ignored the impacts of oil and gas extraction to groundwater and to climate change, as well failed to consider alternatives that were more protective of health and the environment. The judge overturned BLM’s decisions and “vacated” the leases, meaning they no longer legally exist.
“It’s heartening to see that, once again, the courts have struck down the Trump administration’s shortsighted rush to frack public lands to fuel the climate crisis,” said Rebecca Fischer, climate and energy program attorney with WildEarth Guardians. “The science has never been clearer that we need an immediate transition away from dirty fossil fuels, and the federal government should be leading the way, not living in the Dark Ages.”
Read the press release.
TAKE ACTION > No More Fracking Public Lands.
WildEarth Guardians has strongly condemned the New Mexico Environment Department’s decision to scale back enforcement of clean air violations and inspections of oil and gas extraction facilities in the state.
In an announcement on April 30, the New Mexico Environment Department’s Air Quality Bureau disclosed a series of actions the agency is taking to make it easier for the oil and gas industry to avoid accountability to clean air and public health. The announcement comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact New Mexico and the rest of the world and even as the state remains under a stay-at-home order to protect health.
“In this unprecedented health crisis, the New Mexico Environment Department is turning its back on clean air and communities,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program Director. “This sick indifference to human health is nothing but an attempt to appease the bankrupt oil and gas industry.”
Read the press release.
Fifty years ago, a group of visionaries created an event to honor, celebrate and protect the earth. The original founders of Earth Day were inspired by an understanding that Earth and its life support systems were increasingly vulnerable. They also understood a profound and simple truth—if the Earth suffers, then humanity suffers too.
If Earth and its natural systems are to thrive in the next 50 years, we need a deep recommitment to the bold vision that inspired the first Earth Day. Simply put, it’s time for action and we need Guardians like you to step up and help be a catalyst for the type of bold changes needed to address systemic problems, like the nature crisis and climate crises.
First, if you haven’t already, sign our Earth Day Pledge and make sure to share it with your friends and family.
Next, help us take over social media for Earth Week! To do that, we’ve assembled ready-to-go images for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you’re short on time, we’ve even put together some sample Facebook posts and Instagram hashtags for you. We’ve created something extra special for people on Twitter: A compelling series of 15 tweets. We’d be especially grateful if you could send them all out!
Finally, you can find WildEarth Guardians on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @WildEarthGuardians, so make sure to tag us!
All Earth Day images can be downloaded from this folder. They’re already sized for Facebook/Instagram or Twitter. You can also click on each image below and get a full-size image for use on social media.
Start your very own Twitter Storm by sending out the following 15 tweets. We’ve made it simple: Just grab and post! Please note: If an image isn’t associated with the suggested tweet (Example: Suggested Tweet #1) an image will automatically propagate when you post the entire tweet.
Suggested Tweet #1
The original founders of #EarthDay were inspired by an understanding that Earth and its life support systems were increasingly vulnerable. They also understood a profound and simple truth—if the Earth suffers, then humanity suffers too. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #2
Sign the Earth Day Pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge @wildearthguard
Suggested Tweet #3
Thanks to the catalyzing effect of the original #EarthDay vision—as well as a deep and wide progressive social and political movement—a whole suite of environmental safety nets now exist to protect nature, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/americas-bedrock-environmental-laws-a-conversation-with-john-horning/
Suggested Tweet #4
This #EarthDay is a time to reject dualities that seek to deny our interdependence and embrace our shared destiny—planet and people have one health. From this stems our belief that the rights of nature and the rights of people are inextricably intertwined. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #5
Help spread the word about #EarthDay2020! Check out our Earth Day social media tool kit for a series of ready-to-go tweets, posts, and images. Let’s be loud and be proud this #EarthDay! @wildearthguard https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayToolkit
Suggested Tweet #6
There has never been a better time to chart a new course towards a restorative and regenerative future. Take the #EarthDay Pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge @wildearthguard
Suggested Tweet #7
Extractive industries that mine, drill, log, and graze on #publiclands are fueling the climate crisis and the nature crisis. We must equitably retire extractive industries on public lands. Take action: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #8
Living rivers are vital to the diversity of life on earth. To ensure the future health of rivers and the species that depend on them, we must revive the pulse of great waterways and expose the historic injustice to rivers. Take the pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #9
Native #wildlife, especially carnivores, are suffering under the multiple and intensifying threats of habitat destruction, climate disruption and questionable hunting and trapping practices. We must nurture an ethic of compassionate co-existence: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #10
Public lands in the American West are home to some of the last remnants of wild, yet still unprotected, landscapes in our nation. There are potentially up to 40 million acres of #publiclands that would be eligible for permanent protection. ACT: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #11
Times like these show the importance of safety nets. We must secure and strengthen environmental safety nets like the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act to meet the challenges ahead. Sign the pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #12
WildEarth Guardians’ #EarthDay vision calls for leadership at all levels of society. We need leaders from all political spectrums to shoulder the responsibility of creating and embrace the vision of a new, more nurturant social contract with citizens. https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #13
Living rivers and #cleanwater are vital to all life. Flowing, healthy rivers nourish communities, connect ecosystems, and provide corridors and habitat for fish and wildlife. Sign the pledge to protect and defend #livingrivers: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge #EarthDay
Suggested Tweet #14
We must deepen our commitment to greater equity and inclusion in our human communities to ensure that people are treated with compassion and afforded the dignity that all people deserve. #EarthDay https://wildearthguardians.org/brave-new-wild/news/earth-day-2020-a-vision-for-the-next-50-years/
Suggested Tweet #15
The beauty, resiliency, and dynamism of Earth can still inspire a sense of awe and wonder in each of us. If we re-commit, with a greater sense of urgency, to the founding vision of #EarthDay, we can ensure future generations will experience the beauty too. https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge
Suggested Facebook Posts
Suggested Facebook Post #1
The original founders of Earth Day were inspired by an understanding that Earth and its life support systems were increasingly vulnerable. They also understood a profound and simple truth—if the Earth suffers, then humanity suffers too.
As we commemorate this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we do so with a somber reckoning that we have not heeded planetary health warnings early or well enough. Therefore, these times require ever more bold actions to realign our commitment to Earth and its natural systems and our mutual well-being.
Here’s what guardians like you can do today to help us collectively achieve this vision.
Suggested Facebook Post #2
If Earth and its natural systems are to thrive in the next 50 years, we need a deep recommitment to the bold vision that inspired the first Earth Day. It is a time for action. It is time to reweave the threads of the environmental, public health, and economic safety nets, which ensure that the public welfare and the common good are each protected.
Take the Pledge: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge
Suggested Facebook Post #3
Happy Earth Day…Now get to work for the Earth!
Our Earth Day social media tool kit is a one-stop-shop of ready-to-go tweets, posts, and images.
Instagram Hashtags and Link for Bio
Put this link to the Earth Day Pledge in your bio: https://guardiansaction.org/EarthDayPledge
Hashtags: Use one, or use them all!
#EarthDay #EarthDay2020 #EarthDayEveryDay #ClimateAction #StopExtinction #PublicLands #Wildlife #EndTheWarOnWildlife #LivingRivers #KeepItInTheGround #ProtectWhatYouLove #SaveTheEarth #SaveThePlanet #ProtectOurPlanet #ActOnClimate #EarthWeek #WaterIsLife #CleanWater #CleanAir #Biodiversity #Coexistence #ProtectNature #SaveNature #ProtectWildlife #OneEarth #Together #EndangeredSpecies
A massive new pipeline pushed by the oil and gas giant, Exxon, stands to ravage our climate, despoil public lands, and undermine public health and safety. Thankfully, we’re fighting back to stop it.
Called the Double E pipeline, Exxon’s plans are to ship huge amounts of gas extracted in southeast New Mexico to a hub 135 miles away in Texas. Exxon would own the pipeline together with Summit Midstream, which owns the gas processing and transmission facilities that have enabled fracking booms throughout the U.S.
The pipe would be up to three and a half feet in diameter and carry up to 6.75 trillion cubic feet of gas per year.
To put that into perspective, burning 6.75 trillion cubic feet of gas per day would release more than 35.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s handy greenhouse gas equivalency calculator, that equals the emissions of nearly 10 coal-fired power plants.
Quite literally, the Double E pipeline would be a conduit for more climate destruction.
It doesn’t end there.
The Double E would be especially destructive for New Mexico. All told, 35% of the pipeline would impact public lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, all of which are in the southeast corner of the state. It would also impact more than 170 acres of New Mexico state public lands.
The massive pipe would also bore under the sensitive Pecos River, the lifeblood of southeast New Mexico, and cross 148 ephemeral and two perennial streams.
With southeast New Mexico literally “plagued” by oil and gas spills, many from pipelines, the Double E would be a major threat to the region’s clean water.
What’s worse is the proposed pipeline comes even as Americans are still in the throes of coronavirus pandemic and the deadly spread of COVID-19. Not only would the pipeline lead to more air pollution, which has been definitively linked to higher coronavirus death rates, but it’s also being proposed at a time when many simply can’t engage in the public process.
Right now, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is asking for public comments on its environmental review of the Double E pipeline. The agency announced a public comment period last month and set a deadline of April 23 for submissions.
Earlier this month, we joined several partner groups in calling on the Commission to extend the public comment period.
For one, the comment period exceptionally short for such a major proposal with such significant environmental implications. However, given the coronavirus, we felt it was simply not fair to demand that Americans who are preoccupied with protecting their health have to be burdened with the need to weigh in on more oil and gas pipelines.
We have yet to receive a response.
In the meantime, we’re scrambling to scrutinize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental review and draft up technical and legal comments. Unbelievably, in a draft assessment, the Commission has asserted the pipeline would have “no significant” and only “minimal” environmental impacts.
We can’t afford more oil and gas pipelines. They open the door for more fracking and keep our nation and our world locked into a deadly dependence on fossil fuels. For our climate, public lands, and our health, we’ll be pushing back on Exxon and their cronies in the Trump administration. And you should too…TAKE ACTION!