Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Challenge

The Obama Administration sold more than 10 million acres of public land rights to the oil and gas industry, often for as little as $2.00 per acre. That’s an area 50 percent larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Yosemite, and Ground Smoky Mountains National Parks, combined.  Nonetheless, the federal government refuses to disclose the impacts of this oil and gas leasing on our climate.

On behalf of WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, we’re challenging the federal leasing of 463,553 acres of public lands to the oil and gas industry. The lands opened up for fracking in the past year include the Pawnee National Grassland in Colorado, the Red Desert of southern Wyoming, and the Fishlake National Forest in Utah. This suit aims to protect these and other public lands, while pressing for climate accountability.

This campaign seeks a program-wide analysis of federal oil and gas program impacts on the climate and on taxpayers, and a moratorium on new leasing until that analysis is complete. The suit also advances the goals of the “Keep it in the Ground” movement, which aims to permanently halt new coal, oil, and gas leasing on public lands and waters.

A moratorium during the required climate study would have no impact on U.S. oil and gas production, as only 35 percent of all leased public lands are actually producing.