Public Lands and Waters

Combating Climate Change on America’s Public Lands and Waters

Fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters is responsible for nearly a quarter of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, making public lands a net-emitter of greenhouse gas pollution. The Department of the Interior (DOI) needlessly subsidizes the oil and gas industry at taxpayers’ expense; permits drilling without adequate environmental review; and puts wilderness areas, national parks, and other protected wild and natural places at risk from the impacts of drilling and mining. These policies lock up America’s public lands in oil and gas activity instead of allowing federal agencies to maximize their climate and biodiversity benefits, including renewable energy production.

 
 
 
Our Plan To Make Public Lands And Waters A Part Of The Climate Solution

To transform America’s public lands and waters from a source of greenhouse gas emissions into a cornerstone of an ambitious climate strategy, the U.S. government must develop and implement a comprehensive and aggressive public lands climate plan to reduce emissions from fossil fuel extraction, increase renewable energy development, and protect and restore natural landscapes across the country.

 

Establish a national goal of achieving net-zero emissions on public lands and waters by 2040 at the latest and direct federal land management agencies to develop a public lands climate plan to achieve this goal.

Impose a moratorium on all fossil fuel leasing on public lands for one year and until DOI develops a public lands climate plan and determines that additional leasing is not inconsistent with achieving net-zero emissions on public lands by 2040 at the latest.

Prohibit new offshore oil and gas leasing in any area of the Outer Continental Shelf.

Invest in state and local communities in economic transition to ensure that historically fossil fuel-dependent states, communities, and workers are not left behind in the transition away from fossil fuel extraction on public lands.

Protect wild and special places from drilling and mining such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, national parks and monuments, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges and corridors, and federal lands adjacent to national parks and monuments.

End unfair government subsidies for oil and gas production on public lands, such as royalty relief, noncompetitive lease sales, and unreasonably low minimum bid requirements and rental rates.

Establish and maintain strong environmental safeguards by ensuring robust environmental review, increasing bonding requirements, and investing in orphan well reclamation.