Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 21, 2016

Contact: Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414,

Presidential Candidates Asked for Positions on Climate, Public Lands Fossil Fuel Leasing

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today issued a questionnaire to all major presidential candidates seeking their positions on ending federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and oceans and asking them to describe other measures they would undertake to combat the climate crisis.

The questionnaire asks candidates whether they would support ending new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and oceans as one way to address climate change, and, if so, when they would do so. It also asks candidates to describe their other key proposals for addressing the climate crisis.

“The climate crisis is the most urgent and far-reaching problem of our time, and the American public deserves to hear specific plans from all presidential candidates,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center. “The role that America’s public lands and oceans play in fossil fuel development and pollution has become a key point in climate discussions. This is a chance for all our potential presidents to weigh in.”

Scientific studies show that greenhouse gas pollution must be urgently reduced and at least 80 percent of existing fossil fuels reserves must be kept in the ground in order to keep global warming “to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” as agreed to by the United States and nearly 200 other nations in December’s Paris agreement on climate change.

One policy option available to U.S. presidents, as outlined in a 2015 Center for Biological Diversity report titled Grounded, is to stop new federal fossil fuel leasing and subsequent exploration on public lands and oceans. Halting new leasing would remove up to 450 billion tons of greenhouse gases — up to half of the potential emissions from remaining fossil fuels in the United States — from the global pool of potential pollution.

“We’re eager to hear how presidential candidates from all parties will address climate change,” said McKinnon. “It’s critical that voters be as informed as possible on where candidates stand on the issues, and climate change — including the role that America’s public lands and oceans will play — is no exception.”

Download a copy of the questionnaire here.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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