Not long ago we told you about the Biden administration’s plan to auction off more than 6,600 acres of public land in Utah for oil and gas development. You may have even submitted comments in September, during the scoping phase of the public process. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has now released its environmental assessment for this lease sale and is accepting public comments through December 1st. Once again, we need you to raise your voice.
Development on these parcels would threaten wildlife, water resources, and recreation while exacerbating the climate crisis. Four of the six parcels are located adjacent to the Green River in the Uinta Basin, while another is located adjacent to the San Rafael Reef Wilderness, just north of the entrance to Goblin Valley State Park.
The BLM is not required to sell these—or any parcels—for development. In January, President Biden issued an executive order pausing all new oil and gas leasing on public lands to allow the Interior Department to review its broken leasing program. And while a federal court in Louisiana set aside that order and instructed the Interior Department to restart a leasing process, the BLM retains broad legal discretion not to lease these lands in order to protect public health and the environment, including our climate.
The Interior Department has recognized that the current oil and gas program is broken because, among other things, it “fail[s] to adequately incorporate consideration of climate impacts into leasing decisions” and “inadequately account[s] for environmental harms to lands, waters, and other resources.” The BLM should not offer any new parcels until these shortcomings are resolved, and the Biden administration should stand by its promise to curb fossil fuel leasing and development on our public lands.
The BLM is accepting comments on its environmental assessment through December 1st. Please submit your comments today.