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For Immediate Release, September 15, 2009

Contact: Brian Nowicki, Center for Biological Diversity, (916) 201-6938,

Interior Chief Salazar Announces Climate Change Strategy,
Meanwhile Continuing to Greenlight Dirty Fossil Fuel Development

WASHINGTON Amidst increasing signs of global warming, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today announced the Department of the Interior’s first-ever plan to address the impacts of climate change on America’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources. 

“Addressing the impacts of climate change is critical, but the Interior plan fails to limit those impacts by reducing our reliance on coal and other fossil fuels,” said Brian Nowicki, California climate policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “While the Department’s plan finally acknowledges the severity of the climate crisis, Interior Department agencies are continuing to approve new oil, coal, and gas developments in public lands and oceans weekly, usually without any consideration of the greenhouse gas implications of those approvals as required under the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws.”

“Any effective response to global warming must not only, as Secretary Salazar has stated, ‘tackle these impacts of a failed and outdated energy policy,’ but also tackle our failed and outdated energy policy itself by rejecting oil, coal, and gas development in our treasured public lands and oceans.”

“Secretary Salazar should also begin implementing the requirement in the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act that federal agencies thoroughly examine the greenhouse gas emissions from the projects they approve. As long as these requirements are routinely ignored by Interior Department agencies, Secretary Salazar’s climate change plan will be incomplete at best.”

“Protection of our public lands based on full consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming is a crucial part of an overall response to climate change, which should also include full implementation of the Clean Air Act by the EPA, and new climate legislation that builds on the successful foundation of existing environmental laws and sets an overall cap on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of no more than 350 parts per million, which the best available science tells us is necessary.”

To read the secretarial order signed September 14, click here.

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