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New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Auctions Off More Public Land For Fracking
Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, environmental advocates gathered in front of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Office in Santa Fe to protest the agency’s September 5 online auction of nearly 3,000 acres of public land in the Permian Basin of New Mexico’s Greater Carlsbad region for industrialized fracking.
“Full exploitation of the Permian Basin could fuel one degree of warming alone,” said Rebecca Sobel, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for WildEarth Guardians. “Any meaningful climate action must address the reckless sacrifice of our federal public lands for oil and gas interests, which puts our lands, water, and climate at risk.”
All 10 candidates participating in CNN’s climate-change town hall Wednesday, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have proposed halting new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands, yet the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management continues to approve unstudied fracking in sensitive areas.
The September oil and gas lease sale is the latest effort of the Trump’s Administration’s “energy dominance” agenda, sacrificing public lands for fracking in quarterly lease sales across the West. In June, the BLM auctioned off nearly 40,000 acres of public and tribal land throughout the state despite its decisions being struck down by a Tenth Circuit court decision and despite receiving thousands of protests from Tribal governments, advocacy organizations, and citizens who ran close to 60 miles to deliver protests to BLM. Local advocates continue to draw attention to the clear link between the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas leasing program and the worsening climate crisis.
In front of the agency’s state headquarters, demonstrators played the song The 1975, a collaboration between the band The 1975 and renowned youth climate activist Greta Thunberg. The song, an urgent call to action, begins: “We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis. And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.” Since 2016, New Mexicans have organized in-person protests during BLM’s quarterly lease sales, despite the agency’s move to online auctions.
“Continued oil and gas drilling throughout the Greater Chaco and Greater Carlsbad landscape has already caused irreparable harm to our environment, air and water quality, and public health,” said Miya King-Flahery, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Organizer. “New Mexico cannot escape from the climate crisis or its impacts unless we take action today. Until we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and make the necessary changes now, we will experience harsher drought seasons and more extreme climate fluctuations. New Mexico and our future generations deserve better.”
Later this month, from September 20-27, New Mexicans from across the state will join millions of people around the world in a Global Climate Strike. Several events throughout the week will highlight the impacts of oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco region.