For Immediate Release, May 15, 2019
Taylor McKinnon, (801) 300-2414, firstname.lastname@example.org
Report: Trump Fracking Leases Top 1 Gigaton of Potential Climate Pollution in Lower 48
TUCSON, Ariz.— A new Center for Biological Diversity report shows that the Trump administration is dramatically ramping up oil and gas leases, offering nearly 5 million acres of public lands in the lower 48 states ― most of it in Wyoming and Utah. Those leases, offered as scientists warn that fossil fuels should be rapidly phased out, contain 1 gigaton of potential greenhouse gas pollution.
Nearly 3 million acres have been leased since 2017, locking in 900 million tons of potential pollution. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions from 228 coal-fired power plants.
“Trump’s Interior Department is managing our public lands like a climate kleptocracy,” said Taylor McKinnon, senior campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Each new lease risks decades of carbon pollution that our climate can’t afford. Scientists agree that we must stop fossil fuel expansion and begin rapid decarbonization over the coming decade.”
After slashing environmental review procedures in January 2018, the Trump administration reversed a decade-long trend of declining federal oil and gas lease sales in the lower 48 states. Once offered, unleased parcels are available for leasing for two years. Once issued, leases can last for decades.
The report’s major findings:
“Federal fossil fuel leasing is one of America’s biggest climate problems, but it’s a solvable one,” said McKinnon. “Presidents have the authority to end new leasing and phase out federal fossil fuel production. No serious climate policy in this time of crisis would avoid that opportunity.”
Using federal estimates of oil and gas volumes on public lands, the report calculates volumes and associated lifecycle greenhouse-gas pollution for public lands parcels in the lower 48 states that have been offered and leased by the Trump administration.
Federal fossil fuel production causes about a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Peer-reviewed science estimates that a federal fossil fuel leasing ban would reduce CO2 emissions by 280 million tons per year, ranking it among the most ambitious federal climate policy proposals in recent years.
Federal fossil fuels that have not yet been leased to the industry contain up to 450 billion tons (GtCO2e) of potential climate pollution. Those already leased contain up to 43 billion tons. Leased federal oil, gas and coal are projected to last until 2055, 2044, and 2041, respectively, given the Energy Information Administration’s 2016 “reference case” for fossil fuel production.
Existing laws provide executive authority to stop federal leasing on public lands and oceans. Hundreds of organizations have petitioned the federal government to end new onshore and offshore federal fossil fuel leasing.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.