Sanders, Merkley, Leahy Introduce Bill to Ban New Drilling on Public Land


WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation today to help accelerate the transition to clean energy by ending all new federal leases for oil, gas or coal extraction on public lands and waters.

“Worry less about your campaign contributions and worry more about your children and grandchildren," Sanders told Republicans who continue to deny the science on climate change. “We are taking on the Koch brothers and some of the most powerful political forces in the world who are more concerned with short-term profits than the future of the planet. I’ve got four kids, and I’ve got seven beautiful grandchildren. We have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and inhabitable.”  

“Climate change is already impacting our world through greater forest fires and droughts, with serious effects on our farming, fishing and forest economies. The main cause is carbon pollution, and the impacts will only get worse in the coming decades if we keep burning fossil fuels unchecked,” said Merkley. “One key part of the solution is lying literally beneath our feet. A major contribution to this challenge would be stopping new fossil fuel leases on our public lands that lock in oil, gas and coal extraction for decades into the future. Our public lands should be managed for the public good, not for private profit.

“We have a moral responsibility to confront the reality of climate change, and the science is clear that the cost to our land, our communities and our climate of continued federal fossil fuel leasing is far too high,” Leahy said. “We cannot tackle our carbon emissions if we continue to violate our public lands and our climate with more drilling for fossil fuels. This is a commonsense step forward to addressing a global crisis that is at our doorstep.”

The Keep It in the Ground Act would stop corporations from starting new fossil fuels projects on all federal lands and waters. The bill prohibits offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic and stops new leases and ends nonproducing leases for offshore drilling in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. It also stops new leases and nonproducing leases for coal, oil, gas, oil shale and tar sands on all federal lands. The bill would keep over 90 percent of the potential carbon emissions from fossil fuels on our federal lands and federal waters underground forever.

The bill is also cosponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Click here to read the legislation.

Click here to read a summary of the bill.

Click here to see the press conference on the bill.






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