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Climate bill headed to President Biden sacrifices public lands while locking out Indigenous and Frontline communities

August 15, 2022
John Horning, WildEarth Guardians, jhorning@wildearthguardians.org, 505-795-5083
In This Release
Climate + Energy, Public Lands  
#ClimateJustice, #KeepItInTheGround, #NoNewLeases, #PressStatement
WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Tuesday, President Biden is expected to sign the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which many are hailing as the panacea for fighting climate change while overlooking 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 does not come with a change in how agencies manage public lands undermines many of the promised benefits of the legislation.

The following statement is from John Horning, Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians:

“The importance of our elected leaders coming together to find solutions to address the climate crisis cannot be understated. Scientists, experts, and organizations like Guardians have long been saying we must take bold action and make significant financial investments in clean energy or face dire consequences. Congress was poised to do that. Yet when given a chance, they allowed the good in this bill to be watered-down by provisions that prop-up polluters and expand fossil fuel leasing on public lands. This is at a time when Indigenous and Frontline communities have been calling for no new leasing to protect the air, the water, and the health and livelihoods of local communities.

Climate action must be centered around environmental justice and climate justice. This is especially essential for the Indigenous and Frontline communities that bear the brunt of continued fossil fuel extraction and development. We will never solve the climate crisis by locking in more fossil fuel exploitation and ignoring climate justice.

The fossil fuel industry has spent the past week celebrating this climate bill by suggesting it creates more certainty for them and their bottom line. It is true that this bill will lock in new rules that could open-up new oil and gas leasing opportunities for at least another decade. 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.

While many of us take a moment to acknowledge this historic effort to fight climate change, we all must redouble our commitment to ending fossil fuel extraction on public lands and ensuring Congress is hearing from those who are most impacted by the Biden administration’s broken promises.”

U.S. Capitol Building. Photo by Toni Smith/USGS.