Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, March 7, 2016

Contacts:  Valerie Love, (510) 274-9713,
Susan Hoog, (775) 772-3892,

'Keep It in the Ground' Rally to Target BLM's Oil, Gas Auction in Nevada

RENO, Nev.— Dozens of climate change activists will stage a “Keep It in the Ground” rally Tuesday outside the Bureau of Land Management’s fossil fuel lease sale at a casino in Reno, Nev., March 8. The bureau’s “climate auction,” as protesters dubbed it, will allow industry to bid on more than 50,000 acres — more than 75 square miles — of publicly owned oil and gas leases in Nevada. These public lands harbor an estimated 486,000 tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution and provide important habitat to sensitive and imperiled species such as the bi-state sage grouse, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, pygmy rabbit, Preble’s shrew and at least 22 species of raptors and owls.

Protesters will rally at the iconic Reno arch with signs and a 60-foot “Keep It in the Ground” banner, then march to the Silver Legacy Resort Casino, where the auction will be held. The rally is part of a rapidly growing national movement calling on President Obama to define his climate legacy by halting new federal fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans — a step that would keep up to 450 billion tons of potential carbon pollution safely in the ground. Similar “Keep It in the Ground” protests are planned for upcoming auctions in Milwaukee, New Orleans and Cheyenne, Wyo., and have already taken place in Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Since November protested lease sales have been postponed in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.

SPECIAL VISUALS NOTICE: At 8pm Monday, activists will project a large format climate-themed slideshow on the outside of the building of the Silver Legacy Casino, site of Tuesday’s auction.

What: Keep It in the Ground rally at BLM oil and gas auction.
When: 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 8.
Where: Meet at Reno Arch, group march to Silver Legacy Resort Casino, 407 N. Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89501.
Who: Local activists from participating groups including Great Basin Climate Action Network, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Great Basin Resource Watch, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter, Rainforest Action Network,, Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Media availability: Protesters will be available for interviews before and after the rally and photos will be made available to the media.
Visuals: Protesters with signs, flags, and a 60-foot-long “Keep It in the Ground” banner under the iconic Reno arch.

Some 67 million acres of U.S. public lands are already leased to dirty fossil fuel industries, an area 55 times larger than Grand Canyon National Park and containing up to 43 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution. Nearly one quarter of all U.S. climate pollution already comes from burning fossil fuels from public lands. Remaining federal oil, gas, coal, oil shale and tar sands that have not been leased to industry contain up to 450 billion additional tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution.

In September more than 400 organizations called on President Obama to end federal fossil fuel leasing. In November, Senators Merkley (D-Ore.), Sanders (D-Vt.) and others introduced legislation to end new federal fossil fuel leases and cancel non-producing federal fossil fuel leases. Last month the Obama administration placed a moratorium on federal coal leasing while the Department of the Interior studies its impacts on taxpayers and the planet. Since November 2015, in response to protests, the BLM has postponed oil and gas leasing auctions in Utah, Montana, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.

Download the September “Keep It in the Ground” letter to President Obama.

Download Grounded: The President’s Power to Fight Climate Change, Protect Public Lands by Keeping Publicly Owned Fossil Fuels in the Ground (this report details the legal authorities with which a president can halt new federal fossil fuel leases).

Download The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Federal Fossil Fuels (this report quantifies the volume and potential greenhouse gas emissions of remaining federal fossil fuels).

Download The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions fact sheet.

Download Public Lands, Private Profits (this report details the corporations profiting from climate-destroying fossil fuel extraction on public lands).

Download WildEarth Guardians’ formal petition calling on the Department of the Interior to study for the first time ever the climate impacts of the federal oil and gas leasing program and to place a moratorium on new leasing until completed that study is completed.

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