Over 108 million acres offered for oil and gas leasing
WASHINGTON, DC (October 26, 2020) – Over the last four years, federal actions on oil and gas have scarred our nation’s public lands and waters, impacting communities and the climate in unprecedented ways, according to a new story map from The Wilderness Society Action Fund.
The Trump administration has offered an area of over 108 million acres of public lands and waters for oil and gas leasing – with almost a quarter of that (24.6 million acres) on public lands
As detailed in the story map, The Wilderness Society Action Fund analyzed data compiled from the Bureau of Land Management and found that through September 2020, the administration has offered an area of over 108 million acres of public lands and waters for oil and gas leasing – with almost a quarter of that (24.6 million acres) on public lands. Of the leases offered, approximately 11 million acres have been sold (5.4 million acres of public lands and 5.3 million acres of public waters), demonstrating the administration’s willingness to give up our most treasured natural resources, regardless of need or demand.
The current administration is also making 50 million acres of public lands available for future oil and gas development through draft or finalized resource management plans. That is an area larger than the entire state of Washington.
The story map goes on to take a deeper look into how the administration’s actions to advance oil and gas development have impacted communities: from the humanitarian issues facing Gwich’in and Iñupiat peoples in the Arctic, to the potential destruction of one of the most biologically and culturally important wildlife corridors in North America, to the North Fork Valley community’s overwhelming desire to protect their thriving organic farming and traditional agriculture hub from irresponsible oil and gas development – a desire ignored by the federal government’s revision of the area’s resource management plan.
“The collective impacts we have seen from the last four years of the current administration’s energy dominance agenda for our public lands should be a wake-up call to everyone,” said Alex Daue, Assistant Director for Energy and Climate for The Wilderness Society Action Fund. “If things don’t change, our nation will lose some of its wildest places, communities will continue to feel the impacts of pollution and assaults on their way of life, and a valuable tool in the fight against climate change will be destroyed.”
According to the story map, oil and gas leases sold on public lands and waters between January 2017 and September 2020 could create the equivalent of 8.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. That equates to more than the total greenhouse gas emissions stemming from all of North America (United States, Canada, and Mexico) for an entire year.