Dem-sponsored bill would block federal fossil fuel development

Dem-sponsored bill would block federal fossil fuel development
© Greg Nash

A House Democrat on Thursday introduced a bill that would ban all future fossil fuel production on federal land. 

Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanDemocrats reach cusp of impeachment Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Pelosi heading to Madrid for UN climate change convention MORE's (D-Calif.) Keep It In The Ground Act would block new leases to tap fossil fuel reserves on federal land and in federal waters in the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and the Gulf of Mexico. 

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Huffman said Thursday that now is the time to begin transitioning from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.

“What we put off today will only make the cost and the damage for our children greater tomorrow,” he said. 

The bill is the House version of legislation introduced in November by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyMcConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' Overnight Energy: Protesters plan Black Friday climate strike | 'Father of EPA' dies | Democrats push EPA to abandon methane rollback Warren bill would revoke Medals of Honor for Wounded Knee massacre MORE (D-Ore.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Reject National Defense Authorization Act, save Yemen instead MORE (I-Vt.), who is running for president..

The bills are part of a movement from green groups and environmentalists to encourage lawmakers to wean the U.S. off of fossil fuels by blocking future development where they can. 

“Our movement is more powerful than it ever has been, and our elected officials are responding to that with more thoughtful policies,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said.

This bill “gives Congress the opportunity to take the next step against climate disruption, which is to keep dirty fuels in the ground,” he added.

Huffman’s bill has 17 Democratic co-sponsors. And although the bill has no shot of moving forward in the Republican-controlled Congress, Huffman and environmental groups said Thursday that they’re seeing their plan win more support from both the public and top politicians.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMore than 200,000 Wisconsin voters will be removed from the rolls Trump is threatening to boycott the debates — here's how to make sure he shows up Trey Gowdy returns to Fox News as contributor MORE told an activist last week that ending federal fossil fuel production was a “done deal” for her

“This is the sort of the legislation that gets us far in that direction,” Bill McKibben, the co-founder of climate group 350.org, said.