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Keep It in the Ground’ Rally to Target BLM’s Oil, Gas Auction in Cheyenne

Date
February 1, 2016
Contact
Jeremy Nichols (303) 437-7663
In This Release
Climate + Energy

Monday, February 1, 2016
‘Keep It in the Ground’ Rally to Target BLM’s Oil, Gas Auction in Cheyenne

Local Citizens, Activists to Protest Public Land Giveaway of over 120,000 Acres
Contact: Jeremy Nichols (303) 437-7663

Additional Contacts:

RalphGarrett, Social Action Committee, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laramie,(307) 745-8712
ConnieWilbert, Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter, (307) 460-8046
ValerieLove, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 274-9713
RuthBreech, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 238-1766


CHEYENNE— Dozens of local citizens and climateactivists will protest Tuesday morning at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM)oil and gas lease sale in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The rally will be led by localcitizens and take place outside the Holiday Inn Cheyenne. Activists will demandan immediate end to fossil fuel development on public lands.

The BLM’s “climate auction” will allowindustry to bid on more than 120,000 acres of publicly owned land in Wyomingfor the purposes of drilling and fracking oil and gas. As companies mine coal, anddrill and frack oil and gas in the state, Wyoming residents continue toshoulder health and climate impacts. The rally will call on the BLM to stopthis auction now to prevent catastrophic climate change and ensure a livablefuture for this and coming generations in Wyoming and beyond.

The protest is part of the rapidlygrowing “Keep It in the Ground” movement calling on President Obama to definehis climate legacy by stopping new fossil fuel leases on public lands andoceans. The auction presents a gross conflict between the administration’sclimate pledges and an energy policy that allows fuels that should beconsidered “unburnable” to be extracted from public lands. Federal fossil fuels—those that the president controls—should be the first taken off the tableto mitigate climate damage. The auction is moving forward despite earlierprotests and a letter delivered to President Obama asking him to cancel all fossil fuelsales because of runaway greenhouse gas pollution and climate impacts. Similar “Keepit in the ground” protests have been held previously in Cheyenne and in Alaska,Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.

What: “KeepIt in the Ground” rally at a BLM oil and gas leasing auction

When: Tuesday,Feb. 2, 7:00 a.m.

Where: HolidayInn Cheyenne, 204 West Fox Farm Road

Who: SierraClub Wyoming Chapter, 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, RainforestAction Network, WildEarth Guardians.

Media availability: Activists will be available for interviews before and after theprotest.

Quotes:

Connie Wilbert, Sierra Club WyomingChapter:

“We have theinnovative power to provide clean, affordable, sustainable energy that reduces climatedisruption, protects our communities, landscapes and wildlife, and provides good safejobs and a stable economy. The sooner we move away from oil and gas, the betterchance we will have to avoid catastrophic climate change and irreparable damageto public health. It’s time to stopmining our public lands for dirty fossil fuels.”

Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network:

“Dirty energycompanies profit off our shared heritage and leave toxic messes for the stateto clean up. Companies like Anadarko and Encana make millions off of taxpayers,degrading thousands of acres, creating health problems for residents, andspewing massive climate change pollution into the air. No more corporategiveaways. No more health impacts on communities. President Obama, end fossilfuel leases today.”

Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians:

“Our public lands, our western wildlife, ourclean air and water, and our climate are all being auctioned away to thehighest oil and gas industry bidder. President Obama has shown realclimate leadership nationally, but now it’s time for leadership on the groundwhere it matters most. It’s time to put the brakes on leasing our publiclands for fracking.”

Background

Sixty-seven million acres of U.S.public lands are already leased to dirty fossil fuel industries, an area 55times larger than Grand Canyon National Park, and containing up to 43 billiontons of potential greenhouse gas pollution. Nearly one quarter of all U.S.climate pollution already comes from burning fossil fuels from public lands. Remainingfederal oil, gas, coal, oil shale and tar sands that have not been leased toindustry contain up to 450 billion additional tons of potential greenhouse gaspollution.

In September, more than 400organizations called on President Obama to end federal fossil fuel leasing. InNovember, Senators Merkley (D-Ore.), Sanders (D-Vt.) and others introducedlegislation to end new federal fossil fuel leases and cancel non-producingfederal fossil fuel leases. Last month, the Obama Administration placed a moratoriumon federal coal leasing while the Department of the Interior studies itsimpacts on taxpayers and the planet. Since November, in response to protests,the BLM has canceled oil and gas leasing auctions in Utah, Montana, andWashington, DC.

Resources

View WildEarth Guardians’ maps of theplanned lease sale in Wyoming and nearby states, including a time series map ofthe last 12 years of Wyoming oil and gas leasing, here.

Download WildEarth Guardians administrativeprotest of the November Utah Oil and Gas Lease Sale here.

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

Download The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions ofU.S. Federal Fossil Fuels here (this report by EcoShiftConsulting, commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends ofthe Earth, quantifies the volume and potential greenhouse gas emissions ofremaining federal fossil fuels).

Download The Potential Greenhouse GasEmissions fact sheet here.)

Download Grounded: The President’s Power to FightClimate Change, Protect Public Lands by Keeping Publicly Owned Fossil Fuels inthe Ground here (this report by the Centerfor Biological Diversity details the legal authorities with which a presidentcan halt new federal fossil fuel leases.)

Download Public Lands, Private Profits here (this report details the corporations profiting mostfrom climate-destroying fossil fuel extraction on public lands).

Download WildEarth Guardians’ formal petition callingon the Department of the Interior to finally study the climate impacts of thefederal oil and gas leasing program and to place a moratorium on new leasinguntil completed that study is completed here.

Other Contact
Ralph Garrett, Social Action Committee, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laramie, (307) 745-8712 Connie Wilbert, Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter, (307) 460-8046 Valerie Love, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 274-9713 Ruth Breech, Rainforest Action Network, (415) 238-1766
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