Washington, D.C. — As the government prepares to resume lease sales on public lands and waters to oil and gas companies, a new analysis from the Center for American Progress shows how oil lobbyists have manipulated the system to undermine climate action.
The Biden administration paused new leasing earlier this year, but a federal judge in Louisiana blocked that action. Now, lease sales in the coming months are expected to offer up 740,000 acres of public lands and a whopping 80 million acres of public ocean to oil companies.
The offshore lease sale alone has the potential to emit 723 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere over its lifetime, equivalent to operating more than 70 percent of the United States’ coal-fired power plants for a year, the CAP analysis found.
“These lease sales are completely out of step with the actions needed to curb climate change,” said Jenny Rowland-Shea, deputy director for Public Lands at CAP and co-author of the column. “The oil lobby is spending millions of dollars on lawsuits, misinformation, and efforts to influence decision-makers, with the goal of putting profits above all else. The Biden administration must take back control of its federal oil and gas program and end this inconsistent and harmful approach to managing the country’s public lands and ocean.”
Four lawsuits seeking to restart federal lease sales have been filed: two from the oil and gas lobby and two from Wyoming, Louisiana, and 12 other states. But oil and gas interests gave a combined $4.5 million to the campaigns of those 14 governors and attorneys general over the years. The industry is also misleading the public by falsely claiming that a pause in the lease sale program would hamper oil and gas production.
Read the column: “How Oil Lobbyists Use a Rigged System to Hamstring Biden’s Climate Agenda” by Jenny Rowland-Shea and Zainab Mirza
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