Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Suspend leases of public land to fossil fuel companies for oil and natural gas extraction.
Hundreds came together to protest the leasing of 7,000 acres of federal land for drilling in Colorado. Despite this, the auction continued and the first sale went forward at the minimum federal price of two dollars per acre. The amount of public land already leased to fossil fuel companies is a staggering 67 million acres.
Permitting these companies to continue their operations on public land jeopardizes the land itself and accelerates climate change. The Obama administration has recently suspended leases of federal land to coal companies until the environmental impact of such leases can be fully examined. Call on President Obama to do the same for other fossil fuel leases.
Fossil fuels are a serious environmental threat and a lead contributor to climate change. Unleased federal lands containing fossil fuels have the potential to produce 450 billion tons of additional greenhouse gas pollution. If the current rate of introducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere continues, the global temperature could rise by 4 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the turn of the next century.
Giving the fossil fuel industry access to these lands imperils the clean energy goals set forth at the Three Amigos Summit. At this summit, President Obama and the heads of state for Canada and Mexico pledged to ensure that 50 percent of North America’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2025.
The movement opposing fossil fuel leases on federal lands has strong support. Already, 400 organizations have asked President Obama to discontinue these leases. Protests have gathered enough momentum that the fossil fuel industry is now requesting that federal land auctions be held online to avoid protesters. The Vice President of the Western Energy Alliance, Kathleen Sgamma, stated that she had requested the Bureau of Land Management “to get rid of this circus by just holding online auctions.”
The characteristic of a circus is that it gets your attention and the fossil fuel industry is clearly concerned with the notice that this movement is garnering. Capitalize on this momentum and join those asking President Obama to suspend fossil fuel leases.
Dear President Obama,
Fossil fuel leases on federal land must stop until their environmental impact can be fully assessed. Hundreds of people recently gathered to protest the leasing of 7,000 acres of federal land in Colorado to be used for drilling. Fossil fuels create pollution and increase climate change. You recently announced that you would seek 50 percent renewable electricity in North America by 2025. Fossil fuels are not renewable and therefore fossil fuel leases pose an impediment to this worthy goal. Suspend these leases on federal land and preserve the environment for future generations.
Unleased federal lands have the potential to create 450 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution. If we continue to expel greenhouse gases at the current rate, the worldwide temperature will climb 4 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the 22nd century. This temperature increase will cause more drought and wildfires, such as have already been seen in the southwest United States.
Many people in the United States support reducing the fossil fuel industry’s access to federal land. Four hundred organizations have already requested that you end these leases altogether. I would like to join my voice to theirs and ask that you put a moratorium on this environmentally destructive practice, for the sake of the nation and for the global community.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: William Picard