WASHINGTON, DC - Today the Obama administration announced a “pause” on new leases for coal mining on public lands while it evaluates reforms for the program that governs leases for some 570 million acres of natural areas owned by taxpayers. The president had alluded to the move in the State of the Union, saying he would “push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”
A study in the journal Nature has shown that the world must keep the vast majority of its fossil fuel reserves in the ground to prevent temperature increases above 2 degrees Celsius, the benchmark scientists say is necessary to avoid dangerous global warming.
At the same time, pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to protect coastlines, oceans, and treasured public landscapes from the dangers of all fossil fuel extraction. Rachel Richardson, Stop Drilling program director for Environment America issued the following statement:
“To prevent climate catastrophe, safeguard our treasured landscapes, and protect our oceans, we must keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition to 100 percent clean energy. Today’s action is a crucial step in that direction. Next the president can cement his climate and conservation legacy by withdrawing all proposals for new fracking and drilling on our lands and in our oceans.”