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.

Yves Adams / Instagram

A rare yellow penguin has been photographed for what is believed to be the first time.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Crystal building in London, England is the first building in the world to be awarded an outstanding BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) rating and a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum rating. Alphotographic / Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

We spend 90% of our time in the buildings where we live and work, shop and conduct business, in the structures that keep us warm in winter and cool in summer.

But immense energy is required to source and manufacture building materials, to power construction sites, to maintain and renew the built environment. In 2019, building operations and construction activities together accounted for 38% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, the highest level ever recorded.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Houses and wooden debris are shown in flood waters from Hurricane Katrina Sept. 11, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jerry Grayson / Helifilms Australia PTY Ltd / Getty Images

By Eric Tate and Christopher Emrich

Disasters stemming from hazards like floods, wildfires, and disease often garner attention because of their extreme conditions and heavy societal impacts. Although the nature of the damage may vary, major disasters are alike in that socially vulnerable populations often experience the worst repercussions. For example, we saw this following Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, each of which generated widespread physical damage and outsized impacts to low-income and minority survivors.

Read More Show Less
A gray wolf is seen howling outside in winter. Wolfgang Kaehler / Contributor / Getty Images

Wisconsin will end its controversial wolf hunt early after hunters and trappers killed almost 70 percent of the state's quota in the hunt's first 48 hours.

Read More Show Less
Tom Vilsack speaks on December 11, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware after being nominated to be Agriculture Secretary by U.S. President Joe Biden. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday was the lone progressive to vote against Tom Vilsack reprising his role as secretary of agriculture, citing concerns that progressive advocacy groups have been raising since even before President Joe Biden officially nominated the former Obama administration appointee.

Read More Show Less