Energy & Environment

Warren unveils 2020 plan to stop drilling on public lands

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a 2020 Democratic hopeful, unveiled an ambitious proposal Monday aimed at protecting public lands and rolling back many of President Trump’s environmental policies. 

Warren included in her proposal, published on Medium, plans to immediately halt drilling offshore and on publicly owned lands, as well as restoring the original boundary lines for two national monuments shrunk under Trump.

Warren championed the goals as a way to “preserve wild, natural places for future generations.”

{mosads}“We must not allow corporations to pillage our public lands and leave taxpayers to clean up the mess. All of us — local communities and tribes, hunters and anglers, ranchers and weekend backpackers — must work together to manage and protect our shared heritage,” Warren wrote.

The first step of her plan would be to place a moratorium on any new fossil fuel extraction on public lands or offshore, as a way to show a commitment to fighting climate change.

A U.S. Geological Survey study released last fall found that public-land drilling contributes a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Under Trump, large tracts of public land have been auctioned off, often at low prices. The administration also released in December a plan for lease sales in Alaska’s Arctic — a plan mandated by law through Congress. The plan could open up drilling as early as this summer.

Looking offshore, the Trump administration is currently considering ways to expand offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast and is in the midst of working out ways to begin seismic testing for oil deposits.

“It is wrong to prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of our local communities. That’s why on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands,” Warren pledged.

Instead of drilling, Warren’s plan would expand renewable energy production on public lands, committing to provide the U.S. electric grid with 10 percent of energy from wind, solar, and geothermal projects on public land. It’s a goal that’s nearly ten times the current production levels, Warren said.

“My administration will make it a priority to expedite leases and incentivize development in existing designated areas, and share royalties from renewable generation with states and local communities to help promote economic development and reduce local dependence on fossil fuel revenues,” she wrote.

Additionally, Warren seeks to expand the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah previously shrunk by 2 million acres under Trump in 2017. While no drilling or mining has yet been auctioned on the now unprotected public land, the move did open up the former parcels in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments for fossil fuel extraction.

“These lands are part of our national fabric, sacred to tribes and beloved by American families. As president, I will use my authorities under the Antiquities Act to restore protections to both monuments and any other national monuments targeted by this Administration,” Warren wrote.

As president, Warren would also change the emissions price for parks–many all entry free. In her plan Warren, said tax payers already fund park maintenance, and therefore should not also pay to use them.

Other initiatives outlined in Warren’s plan include keeping congressional funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund from being directed to other initiatives, reinstating key provisions of a methane pollution rule  proposed to be stripped under Trump, and expanding job opportunities for care for public lands.

“America’s public lands belong to all of us. We should start acting like it — expanding access, ending fossil fuel extraction, leveraging them as part of the climate solution, and preserving and improving them for our children and grandchildren,” Warren wrote.

Tags 2020 Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren National Monument Offshore drilling public lands Utah

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