Good news: Controversial Leases Pulled from September Sale!

Aug 13th, 2020 Written by Jen Ujifusa

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) each recently sent separate letters to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging against the leasing of nearly 87,000 acres of redrock country near Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef National Parks, including significant landscapes that would be protected within America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

Great news: it worked! The combined pressure from these members of Congress, conservation groups, and activists like you led the Bureau of Land Management this week to remove all parcels from the lease sale in San Juan and Grand Counties. The result is that no leases will be offered in the September sale that conflict with America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act!

If your member(s) of Congress signed one of these letters, please click here to thank them.

Joining Senator Durbin on his letter were 15 senators:

Jeff Merkley (D-OR) Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Cory Booker (D-NJ) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Patty Murray (D-WA)
Edward Markey (D-MA) Tom Udall (D-NM)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Ron Wyden (D-OR) Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Representative Lowenthal was joined by 32 colleagues, who in the letter wrote, “Development of these parcels would threaten to ruin the stunning scenic beauty and visitors’ use and enjoyment of these iconic national parks, redrock canyons, and mesas with drill rigs, pipelines, and natural gas flaring. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive down demand for oil and gas leases on public lands while oil and gas wells are being shut-in or abandoned at unprecedented rates, providing little economic justification for this sale. We urge the Department of the Interior to cancel this lease sale.”

Joining Rep. Lowenthal were the following representatives:

Rep Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy (D-MA)
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Rep. Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ)
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
Rep. Nanette Barrigan (D-CA) Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA)
Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. (D-VA) Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA)
Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) Rep. A Donald McEachin (D-VA)

To read the Durbin letter, click here. To read the Lowenthal letter, click here.

This kind of pressure from Congress helps us protect the redrock we all love! If any of these members represent you, please take time to thank them today!