Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, June 9, 2016

Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (801) 300-2414

Peaceful Protest Planned for June 14 Federal Fossil Fuel Auction in Reno

Nevadans Tell Obama: ‘Keep It in the Ground’ to Protect Water, Land, Wildlife and Climate Future

RENO, Nev.— Hundreds of Nevadans plan to peacefully protest a Bureau of Land Management fossil fuel auction next week in Reno, calling on the Obama administration to cancel the sale to protect Nevada’s water and climate future from fracking. The rally will include public speakers, visual and performance art spectacles — including a massive human oil spill — songs and available media interviews with local and regional leaders.

The Bureau plans to auction more than 74,000 acres — or 115 square miles — of the Big Smoky Valley for fracking that could deplete and pollute precious surface and groundwater, industrialize traditional indigenous land and public land, damage habitat for wildlife, impact agriculture and cause almost a half-million tons of greenhouse gas pollution. 

Who:  Concerned Nevada residents and local, regional and national conservation groups will rally to “keep it in the ground.” Groups supporting the rally include Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Great Basin Resource Watch, Be the Change Project, Save Nevada’s Water: Ban Fracking in Nevada, Reno Justice Coalition, FUSED, The Potentialist Workshop, the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network. 

What: ‘Keep It in the Ground’ rally

When: 8 a.m. June 14. Protesters will gather at the Virginia Street Bridge and march to the Siena Hotel, arriving around 8:30 a.m.

Where: Siena Hotel, 1 Lake St, Reno, NV 89501

Images: Images from the rally will be available for media use here and here. Images from the March “Keep It in the Ground” Reno rally are available for media use here.

The protest is part of a rapidly growing national movement calling on President Obama to expand 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 in the ground. “Keep It in the Ground” rallies opposed to federal fossil fuel auctions have been growing across the country — in Alaska, Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Reno, Nev., where two rallies have taken place — halting some of them.
Citing concerns over fracking impacts to water, wildlife and the climate, the Center for Biological Diversity, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and Great Basin Resource Watch in April administratively protested the Bureau of Land Management’s approval of next week’s auction. Download that protest here. A second protest, from the Yomba Shoshone tribe, is here.

The American public owns nearly 650 million acres of federal public land and more than 1.7 billion acres of Outer Continental Shelf — and the fossil fuels beneath them. This includes federal public land, which make up about a third of the U.S. land area, and oceans like Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard. These places and fossil fuels beneath them are held in trust for the public by the federal government; federal fossil fuel leasing is administered by the Department of the Interior.

Over the past decade, the combustion of federal fossil fuels has resulted in nearly a quarter of all U.S. energy-related emissions. An 2015 report by EcoShift consulting, commissioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, found that remaining federal oil, gas, coal, oil shale and tar sands that have not been leased to industry contain up to 450 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution. As of earlier this year, 67 million acres of federal fossil fuel were already leased to industry, an area more than 55 times larger than Grand Canyon National Park containing up to 43 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution.

Last year Sens. Merkley (D-Ore.), Sanders (I-Vt.) and others introduced legislation to end new federal fossil fuel leases and cancel non-producing federal fossil fuel leases. Days later President Obama canceled the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, saying, “Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”

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

Download Grounded: The Presidents 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) and 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 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.
Download the Center for Biological Diversity’s formal petition calling on the Obama administration to halt all new offshore fossil fuel leasing.

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