WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

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Photo: Fotolia

Stopping coal mining and fracking – preserving our public lands and defending our climate.

Keep It in the Ground

Americans own more than 600 million acres of public lands. These public lands provide half of the nation’s coal. When the federal government sells our public lands to coal, oil, and gas companies, those lands are fenced off; they become “public” in name only. We have no choice in what happens to our national heritage, and we can only watch as the places we (and our kids, and our grandkids) enjoyed are transformed into coal mines and fracking wells.

That isn’t right. In fact, it’s downright un-American.

WildEarth Guardians is fighting for our freedom to choose what’s best for our public lands. We’re fighting not just to reduce fossil fuel consumption, but also to stop fossil fuel production in its tracks. When we secure our freedom to choose, we can stem the climate crisis and preserve an enduring legacy for future generations.

Keep Our Coal in the Ground, Save Our Climate

The Trump Administration wants to re-approve four massive coal leases in the Powder River Basin, the nation’s largest coal producing region. Speak out against coal leasing and climate denial under Trump!

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Keep It in the Ground Key Strategies

Coal mined from our public lands in the American West is responsible for 11 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with public oil and gas development contributing to another 10 percent. By preventing new coal, oil, and gas leasing, we protect Western lands, water, and wildlife.
Even in places where coal, oil, and gas leases have already been issued, we have the opportunity to stall or overturn approvals. One way to do this is by exposing collusion between industry and the federal government. Leveraging Freedom of Information laws, we expose the seedy underbelly of dirty energy, then harness public outcry to make change.
The more pipelines, refineries, processing facilities, and other oil and gas infrastructure that exists, the cheaper and easier it is for industry to sacrifice our public lands for development. By targeting pipeline proposals and the pipeline inspection process, we make industry domination unfeasible.
Learn more about how we keep it in the ground with the help of interactive maps! Visit our maps page.

Priority: Greater Chaco

We’re keeping oil and gas in the ground in Greater Chaco, the sacred heart of the American Southwest.
Learn more

Photo: cc2 Andrew Kearns

Keep It in the Ground Milestones

Belted kingfisher on Alameda dam | Rio Grande Waterkeeper

Photo: Frack Off Greater Chaco

March 2018 – New Mexico
Stopped oil and gas lease sale in Greater Chaco

After years of work alongside allies, compelled Interior Secretary Zinke to cancel planned sale of 4,400 acres of Greater Chaco for oil and gas development.

Rio Grande marsh New Mexico | Rio Grande Waterkeeper

Photo: BLM Wyoming

2017 – Wyoming
Locked up 2,000,000,000 tons of coal

Successfully won a suit to keep two billion tons of coal in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin in the ground, on the basis that burning it would have disastrous consequences for climate change.

Belted kingfisher on Alameda dam | Rio Grande Waterkeeper

Photo: WildEarth Guardians

2016 – Rocky Mountain West
Kept 1,800,000,000 tons of coal in the ground

Helped secure a “moratorium” on new coal leasing on public lands in the Rocky Mountain West, keeping 1.8 billion tons of coal in the ground.

Rio Grande algae bloom | Rio Grande Waterkeeper

Photo: WildEarth Guardians

2014 – Colorado
Secured a major legal victory

Won a precedent-setting legal ruling involving a coal mine in Colorado that requires federal land management agencies to consider the social cost or cumulative and inclusive effects of mining and burning coal.

Elephant Butter reservoir | Rio Grande Waterkeeper

Photo: Anders B. Knudsen, Flickr

2010 – Colorado
Shut down three Western coal-fired plants

Partially or completely shut down three coal-fired power plants in Colorado and New Mexico.

How You Can Help

Help shift the power to create a fossil-fuel-free American West! Be a guardian for climate by joining the conversation, learning about current issues, and making your voice heard. Together, we're a powerful force for nature and a force to be reckoned with.

Climate + Energy Press

Trump Administration to Lease 4,200 Acres in Northern Arizona for Fracking

Sep 6, 2018

PHOENIX, Ariz.— The Bureau of Land Management today plans to auction off 4,200 acres of public land for oil and gas leases in northern Arizona near the Petrified Forest National Park and two rivers. Parcels that do not receive bids today will be availa

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Chaco needs congressional leadership

The Santa Fe New Mexican | Mar 24, 2018

For centuries, Chaco Canyon was a gathering place where ancestral Puebloan peoples came together to make their world a better place. At the heart of the ancient civilization’s genius are the complex and intricate relationships between its grand architecture, global commerce, ceremonies and their link to solar and lunar cycles.

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Transparency concerns about oilfield water reuse plans met with silence

NM Political Report | Sep 4, 2018

As state agencies move forward with plans to study reusing wastewater from oil and gas drilling, some environmental and community groups want the administration to slow down. They’re concerned about the working group’s quick schedule and lack of transparency thus far on an issue they say demands careful study.

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