BLM, can you hear us?

By December 11, 2017Oil & Gas

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proved their determination to elevate the interests of the oil and gas industry above those of the people they’re charged to protect – twice. But we can’t give up now.

GREATER CHACO LEASE SALE

On Tuesday, the BLM in New Mexico confirmed their plan to open 4,400 more acres of sacred lands, waters, and resources in Greater Chaco to the destruction of energy development. This decision came after thousands of people asked for cancelation of the sale.

The BLM currently lacks a proper plan for air, land, water, and cultural resource protections in Greater Chaco. Yet, while BLM drafts a plan, they’ve approved over 400 wells. Impacted citizens, numerous tribal leaders, the New Mexico House of Representatives, and the Navajo Nation President have asked BLM to stop leasing until a plan is in place, but last week, BLM pushed them all aside. (Learn More)

Oil and gas development in northwest New Mexico over time.
Supporters in Durango, CO protest the proposed delay of the BLM methane rule.

BLM METHANE RULE DELAY

On Friday, the federal BLM postponed implementation of their methane pollution regulations for one year. Over two-thirds of people in the west understand that methane waste threatens the health of our children and planet. We recognize that wasted natural gas is lost royalty money for schools and roads. For those of us in the Four Corners, underneath a hotspot of methane pollution, immediate implementation of this rule is critical.

This fall, 175,000 citizens across the country spoke out in support of the commonsense, critical BLM methane rule, but on Friday they postponed it anyway. (Learn More)

The BLM’s mission is “to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the multiple use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” The department’s blatant, unapologetic disregard for their own duty, at the behest of the oil and gas industry, is infuriating and debilitating.

Weeks like last week are frustrating. They can wear us down. It can feel like we’re screaming (literally, in some cases!) and still can’t be heard. The current administration is pushing aside those of us standing up for public health and the environment in favor of energy development, even when we represent a vast majority of public sentiment.

But we cannot give up. Your voice is still crucial.

When you comment on federal decisions, such as leasing Greater Chaco or delaying implementation of the methane rule, your remarks enter the government’s official record. We rely on that record for litigation and standing. So when over two-thirds of official comments are in favor of health and environmental protections, you can bet it matters.

Don’t give up, don’t despair. We can’t promise success, but we can pledge to combat the lease sale, the methane rule delay, and many other attacks with every tool in our toolbox. The planet, the health of our communities, and the state our economies depend on it. But to do so, we need you to continue to speak out at every opportunity.

Your voice and support is the foundation upon which we fight. We cannot do our work without you.

Each voice pushes us further toward success. So spread the word, build the chorus, become a member, and we’ll be in touch with the next opportunity to act on these decisions, and others (Have you seen our Action Center?). In the meantime, give the BLM’s boss, Secretary Zinke, a call and let him know how you feel about being ignored.

Secretary Zinke (BLM Office): (202) 208-3801

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