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“Keep it in the Ground” Rally to Target BLM’s Oil and Gas Auction in Colorado

November 11, 2015
Tim Ream (541) 531-8541
In This Release
Climate + Energy

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
“Keep it in the Ground” Rally to Target BLM’s Oil and Gas Auction in Colorado

Dozens to stage climate rally
Contact: Tim Ream (541) 531-8541

Additional Contact:

Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians, 303-437-7663

DENVER—Dozens of peoplewill stage a “Keep it in the Ground” climate rally on Thursday morning outsideof the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas lease sale in Lakewood, Colo. TheBureau’s “climate auction,” as protesters dubbed it, will allow industry to bidon more than 90,000 acres of publicly owned oil and gas in central and easternColorado—which contain upwards of 1 million estimated tons of potentialgreenhouse gas pollution, and possibly much more.

The rally is part of arapidly growing national movement calling on President Obama to define hisclimate legacy and ‘keep it in the ground’ by stopping new federal fossil fuel leaseson public lands and oceans—a step that would keep up to 450 billion tons ofcarbon pollution in the ground. Similar “Keep it in the ground” protests areplanned for upcoming lease sales in Reno, Nev., Salt Lake City and Washington,D.C.

What: Keep It in the Ground rally at BLM oil and gasleasing auction.

When: Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8:00 a.m.

Where: Bureau of Land Management, 2850 Youngfield St, Lakewood, Colo.

Who: 350 Colorado, AudubonSociety of Greater Denver, Be the Change, Center for Biological Diversity,Coloradans Against Fracking, Direct FRACK-tion, Earth Guardians, Food &Water Watch, Frack-Free CO, Friends of the Earth, Great Old Broads forWilderness, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Rights for All People, RuckusSociety, Save the Colorado, WildEarth Guardians and others.

Media availability: Protesters will beavailable for interviews before and after the rally.

Thursday’sauction is being held despite earlier administrative protests (here and here) and a letter from local and nationalgroups to President Obama urging the lease sale be cancelled owing to concernsover runaway greenhouse gas pollution and climate impacts. The letter andprotest argue that the auction perpetuates a conflict between theadministration’s climate goals and its “all of the above” energy policy byleasing federal fossil fuels that should be considered “unburnable” in thecontext of global carbon budgets. The rally reinforces that federal fossilfuels—those that the president controls — should be the first taken off thetable to mitigate climate damage.

Thursday’s rallyfollows a similar one held at a lease sale in Wyoming last week. More “Keep itin the Ground” protests are expected for upcoming lease sales in Salt LakeCity, Reno and Washington D.C. this fall. Together the sales make up hundredsof thousands of acres of western public lands being transferred to fossil fuelindustry control.

Images from the rally willbe uploaded in real-time and available for media use here.


The Americanpublic owns nearly 650 million acres of federal public land, and more than 1.7billion acres of Outer Continental Shelf—and the fossil fuels beneath them.This includes federal public lands like national parks, national forests andwildlife refuges that make up about a third of the U.S. land area—and oceanslike Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard. Theseplaces and fossil fuels are held in trust for the public by the federalgovernment; federal fossil fuel leasing is administered by the Department ofthe Interior.

Over the pastdecade, the combustion of federal fossil fuels has resulted in nearly a quarterof all U.S. energy-related emissions. An August report by EcoShift consulting,commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth,found that remaining federal oil, gas, coal, oil shale and tar sands that hasnot been leased to industry contains up to 450 billion tons of potentialgreenhouse gas pollution. As of earlier this year, 67 million acres federalfossil fuel were already leased to industry, an area more than 55 times largerthan Grand Canyon National Park containing up to 43 billion tons of potentialgreenhouse gas pollution.

More than 400 organizationsand leaders in September called on President Obama to end federal fossil fuelleasing. They included: Bill McKibben, Winona LaDuke, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.,Dr. Noam Chomsky, Dr. Michael Mann, Tim DeChristopher, Dr. Stuart Pimm, Dr.Michael Soule, United Auto Workers Union, Unitarian Universalist Association,Physicians for Social Responsibility, Protect Our Winters, 350.org, Center forBiological Diversity, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, Food &Water Watch, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International,Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, REDOIL, Sierra Club, Great Old Broadsfor Wilderness Waterkeeper Alliance, WildEarth Guardians and hundreds ofothers.

Last week SenatorsMerkley (D-OR), Sanders (D-VT) and others introduced legislation to end newfederal fossil fuel leases and cancel non-producing federal fossil fuelleases. Days later President Obamacancelled the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, saying “Because ultimately, ifwe’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not onlyinhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keepsome fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release moredangerous pollution into the sky.”

Download theletter urging President Obama to cancel Thursday’s oil and gas lease sale here.

Download the September“Keep It in the Ground” letter to Obama here.

Download Grounded:The President’s Power to Fight Climate Change, Protect Public Lands by KeepingPublicly Owned Fossil Fuels in the Ground here (this report details thelegal authorities with which a president can halt new federal fossil fuelleases).

Download ThePotential Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Federal Fossil Fuels here (this report quantifiesthe volume and potential greenhouse gas emissions of remaining federal fossilfuels).

Download ThePotential Greenhouse Gas Emissions fact sheet here.

Download Public Lands, Private Profits here (this report details thecorporations profiting from climate-destroying fossil fuel extraction on publiclands).

Other Contact
Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians, 303-437-7663
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