Fighting for Terry Tempest Williams’ and Brooke Williams’ Right to Buy Fossil Fuel Leases

In February 2016, renowned author and climate activist Terry Tempest Williams and her husband Brooke Williams bid on two oil and gas leases at the Bureau of Land Management’s quarterly lease sale in Utah. They intend to keep the fossil fuels they bid on in the ground until science supports a sustainable use of the oil and gas at an increased value given the costs of climate change to future generations. Oil and gas companies routinely base their exploration and development decisions on the price of oil and other market factors and often hold their leases for years without drilling.

Currently, the fossil fuel industry leases about 20 million acres of public land it is not developing for oil and gas, citing economics — the same argument as Terry and Brooke. But in October 2016, the BLM rejected Tempest Exploration’s bids citing a lack of intent to drill, even though their approach merely accounts for climate change.

BLM has been willing to extend undeveloped leases for the industry in perpetuity, yet the agency put Tempest Exploration’s bids under a microscope. BLM’s decision to reject these lease bids highlights the agency’s misdirected and antiquated approach to fossil fuels, illuminating their fidelity to the oil and gas industry while willfully ignoring the urgency—in an era of climate change—of more enlightened management of the public lands that belong to the American people.

WELC will vigorously defend Terry Tempest Williams’ and Brooke Williams’ right to purchase oil and gas leases to protect the climate.

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Terry Tempest Williams and Brooke Williams

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Laura King: Bio | Docket