Greens sue Obama to stop fossil fuel production on federal land

Greens sue Obama to stop fossil fuel production on federal land
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A pair of environmental groups is suing the Obama administration to try to stop oil and natural gas production on federal lands.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility seeks to block drilling on nearly 380,000 acres of public lands that were leased to oil and gas companies since 2015.

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They say that the drilling unacceptably threatens the climate, public health and the integrity of the lands.

It’s part of the Keep it in the Ground movement, a project that’s taken hold in recent years to pressure the federal government to stop fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters, and to eventually stop fossil fuel production altogether.

“President Obama seems to get climate change, but he has an unexplainable blind spot when it comes to leasing public lands to oil and gas companies,” Tim Ream, WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy campaign director, said in a statement.

“The Obama administration leases a million acres of public lands a year to dirty energy companies, but hasn’t bothered to disclose the inevitable climate pollution? That’s not just immoral, it’s illegal, and we’re going to stop it,” he continued.

“Americans want and expect their public lands to be managed to protect pristine air and crystal clear water, not creating smog alerts and fracking waste spills,” said Catherine Thomasson, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The green groups are asking the administration for an immediate moratorium on new oil and gas leases, similar to the moratorium on coal leases that the Interior Department instituted earlier this year.