Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Trump Admin Proposes 'Vicious' Plan for Fossil Fuel Lease Sales in California Amid Historic Wildfires

Politics
Trump Admin Proposes 'Vicious' Plan for Fossil Fuel Lease Sales in California Amid Historic Wildfires
Local residents sit next to a vineyard as they watch the LNU Lightning Complex fire burning in nearby hills on August 20, 2020 in Healdsburg, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Especially given the climate-fueled wildfires ravaging the region, conservationists sounded alarm Thursday in response to a Trump administration proposal for an oil and gas lease sale in California, which would be the state's first such federal auction in eight years.


At issue are over 4,300 acres of public land in Kern County, an area recently dubbed "the oil industry's political power center." The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a draft environmental assessment of the plan Wednesday for the sales, which would occur by the end of the year.

A BLM statement announcing the proposal notes that California allows fracking—much to the ire of environmental groups.

The proposal comes as California continues to reel from massive wildfires that have stretched firefighting resources thin and burned over 1.25 million acres amid a heatwave and the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's breathtakingly vicious for the Trump administration to expand drilling and fracking while California battles historic wildfires driven by climate change," Clare Lakewood, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

Lakewood said that if the sales go through, adverse impacts on the climate will be guaranteed.

"More oil wells mean more greenhouse gases, more air pollution, and more destroyed habitat," she said, and warned that "selling this public land to oil companies will do significant harm to our environment, despite the administration's ridiculous claims."

Drilling leases haven't been offered in the state since a federal judge ruled in 2013, based on a legal challenge from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, that BLM acted unlawfully in issuing oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental impacts of fracking.

Other bids by the federal government to open public lands in California to fossil fuel drilling have suffered similar fates. The Trump administration's proposals last year to offer up over 1 million acres of public land to oil drilling are the subject of ongoing litigation, the Center for Biological Diversity noted.

"We've blocked any new federal leasing in California in court for eight years now, and we'll fight this too," said Lakewood.

The public comment period on BLM's plan ends September 25.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.


Read More Show Less

Trending

A rare North Atlantic right whale is seen off Cape Cod Bay on April 14, 2019 near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Don Emmert / AFP / Getty Images

An extremely rare North Atlantic right whale calf was found dead off the North Carolina coast on Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sprinklers irrigate a field of onions near a Castilian village in Spain. According to a new study, the average farm size in the EU has almost doubled since the 1960s. miguelangelortega / Moment / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."

Read More Show Less
Members of the San Carlos Apache Nation protest to protect parts of Oak Flat from a copper mining company on July 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

In yet another attack on the environment before leaving office, the Trump administration is seeking to transfer ownership of San Carlos Apache holy ground in Oak Flat, Arizona, to a copper mining company.

Read More Show Less