Leaked 'Priority List' Shows Massive Focus on Fossil Fuel Extraction on Public Lands
The documents, including a "BLM Priority Work" list accompanying talking points memo, were drafted by BLM administrators and have been reviewed by Trump transition team members, but have not yet been circulated to staff.
While wind and solar development earn small mentions, the documents emphasize main goals of making more federal lands available for energy development and streamlining leases and permits for oil, gas, coal and hardrock mining projects.
The draft priority work list under the "Making America Safe through Energy Independence" includes:
- Make additional lands available for "all of the above" energy development
- Address backlog of Applications for Permit to Drill (APDs) and Expressions of Interest (EOIs)
- Streamline Federal coal leasing and permitting, and address backlog
- Streamline oil and gas leasing and permitting
- Streamline rights-of-way processing for pipelines, transmission lines and solar/wind projects
- Streamline leasing and permitting for hardrock mining
The priority list was "assembled by the team at the BLM to clearly lay out our continued commitment to ensure opportunities for commercial, recreation and conservation activities on BLM-managed lands," Megan Crandall, an agency spokeswoman, told E&E News in an email.
"No one voted to pollute our public lands, air or drinking water in the last election, yet the Trump administration is doing the bidding of powerful polluters as nearly its first order of business," Earthjustice attorney Jenny Harbine said after Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke ordered the lifting a moratorium on federal coal leasing. A coalition of groups, including Earthjustice, are suing the Trump administration over the order, which opens tens of thousands of acres of public lands to the coal industry.
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By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.