WildEarth Guardians

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Frack-free American West

Frack-free American West

Few Americans realize that our western public lands are wide open to fracking by oil and gas companies. Tens of millions of acres of National Forests, National Monuments, Bureau of Land Management lands, and even National Wildlife Refuges are already leased by oil and gas companies that are drilling and fracking them. Iconic places, like Chaco Canyon, Utah’s Canyon Country, and many others are at risk.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of the Interior has continued to give away our public lands for fracking, leasing millions of acres to the oil and gas industry. Millions more acres stand to be sold in the coming years.

Already, more than 94,000 wells have been drilled on public lands in the west. More than 80,000 more are expected in the next 20 years.

As we lose our public lands, the consequences will be staggering. Outdoor recreation, fish and wildlife, majestic landscapes, clean air, and pure water will suffer tremendously.

Worse, as wells, roads, and pipelines overtake our lands, they threaten to unleash massive amounts of carbon pollution, fueling our ever-growing climate crisis. Reports have found that oil and gas produced from our public lands is responsible for 10% of our nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Guardians is working in a variety of ways to protect the American West from oil and gas drilling and extraction. Our aim? A frack-free American West by 2035.  It’s bold, but it’s a necessary vision.  And we’re already putting it into action in key ways, including:

Targeting public lands oil and gas drilling and fracking in priority areas of the west.

  • Spotlighting the climate impacts of oil and gas, particularly the carbon costs of fracking.
  • Leveraging our clean air laws to rein in unchecked oil and gas development.
  • Lending support to state and local efforts to keep communities safe from fracking.

Our federal government should be leading on climate change and clean energy, not keeping us locked into a future of fossil fuels. Ultimately, our aim is to propel America beyond oil and gas on our public lands so that the rest of the nation and the world will follow.

See our coalition Frack Off Chaco website, connecting efforts to protect this sacred area.

Just like the Standing Rock Sioux, New Mexico’s Indigenous, Latino and low-income communities are shouldering the majority of negative impacts from oil and gas drilling, infrastructure and transportation. A thousand years ago, Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico was the cultural center of the Ancestral Puebloans, whose culture encompassed 75,000 square miles of the Southwest. Today, Chaco Canyon lies within the Navajo Nation, is a World Heritage Site, and ranks among one of the most important cultural sites in the Americas.