Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, April 14, 2016

Contact:   Rebecca Sobel, WildEarth Guardians, (505) 216-6826,
Alex Renirie, Sierra Club, (925) 989-6957,
Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy, (505) 989-7262,
Maria Jose Alcazar, Earth Care, (505) 204-0664,
Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (801) 300-2414,

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

SANTA FE, N.M.— At least 200 climate activists will stage a “Keep It in the Ground” climate rally Wednesday, April 20, at the site of the Bureau of Land Management’s fossil fuel lease sale in Santa Fe, N.M. The bureau’s “climate auction,” as protesters have dubbed it, will allow industry to bid on more than 2,000 acres of publicly owned oil and gas in Kansas and Oklahoma. The rally marks the first of many efforts in New Mexico, where lease sales are also scheduled for July and October.

The rally takes place just days before President Obama is slated to sign the Paris Climate agreement, and is part of a rapidly growing national movement calling on 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 Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Utah, and have already taken place in Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Wisconsin. Since November protested lease sales have been postponed in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.

What: Keep It in the Ground rally at BLM oil and gas auction

When: 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 20

Where: Marriott Courtyard Hotel, 3347 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, N.M. 87507 

Who: Local activists from participating groups including Diné C.A.R.E., Idle No More Four Corners, Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, Tewa Women United, United Native Americans, 350 New Mexico,, The Campaign to End Sacrifice Zones, the Center for Biological Diversity, Earth Care, Environment New Mexico, Food & Water Watch, The Global Warming Express, Interfaith Worker Justice, New Energy Economy, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Osceola Energy, Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians and Wise Fool New Mexico.

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, banners, chalk demonstrations and large letters to the  Obama administration

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 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 Sens. 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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