Washington, D.C. — Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says he’s making sportsmen’s issues and protecting wildlife corridors a priority. But a new analysis from the Center for American Progress shows that the Trump administration has been furiously offering oil and gas leases in areas that threaten the sensitive habitat of big game species.
Nearly one-quarter of oil and gas leases offered by the Trump administration are within a wildlife corridor or state wildlife priority area, the analysis found. Since January 2017, the Trump administration has offered more than 4,500 oil and gas leases in the West. And last year alone, the Bureau of Land Management offered 450 percent more western acres to the oil and gas industry than it did in 2016.
These oil and gas leases are often in serious conflict with protecting the land, water or wildlife, the analysis found. The proportion of leases conflicting with known wildlife areas has been the highest in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Wyoming.
“Bernhardt already has the lowest level of senatorial approval of any interior secretary in history,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, director of policy for Public Lands at CAP and co-author of the analysis. “Congress should ensure his pledge to protect wildlife corridors is not just an empty promise.”
Read the column: “Exposing Secretary Bernhardt’s Sabotage of Big Game Wildlife Corridors” by Jenny Rowland-Shea and Mary Ellen Kustin.
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