FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 15, 2016
Over 40 Frontline, Indigenous, and Climate Leaders Occupy Dept. of Interior to Demand President Obama End Fossil Fuel Lease Sales
Keep it in the Ground leaders from across the country risk arrest to demand President Obama end new fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters
WASHINGTON D.C. – This afternoon, over 40 frontline, Indigenous, and climate leaders are risking arrest and occupying the Department ofInterior (DOI) to demand that President Obama end fossil fuel lease sales. The group just entered the building lobby chanting “Keep it in the Ground.”
The action highlights President Obama’s authority to stop leases sales of public lands and waters and to lock in half of the potential climate pollution from all remaining fossil fuels in the United States.
The action to occupy the Department of Interior is an escalation of the Keep it in the Ground campaign to end fossil fuel auctions, where for the last year, over a thousand people across the country have peacefully protested over 20 lease sales in person. The action most recently builds on a protest last month where four people were arrested for challenging the sale of 23 million offshore acres in the Gulf of Mexico.
Those risking arrest today represent communities in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming, and include the executive directors from four national environmental organizations: Earthworks, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Action Network, and WildEarth Guardians.
Among those arrested was Cherri Foytlin, a Gulf Coast activist and mother of six who is state director for Bold Louisiana.
Today’s event also echoes the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, ally Indigenous and other supporters as they wage a historic resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. In solidarity with the Standing Rock resistance, the action today aims to stop further fossil fuel extraction and more climate destruction.
— Tim Ream (@ourcarbon) September 15, 2016
More than 450 climate groups and leaders gathered at the White House last September calling on the president to end new federal fossil fuel leasing. Since then, thousands of people have turned up to peacefully challenge more than 20 federal fossil fuel auctions across the country, calling on the Obama Administration to stem further fossil fuel extraction. The quickly-growing movement has caused the Administration to halt several fossil fuel lease sales and now to move auctions online to avoid public controversy.
Ending new fossil fuel leasing on public land and oceans would keep up to 450 billion tons of potential greenhouse gas pollution in the ground—half of the potential pollution from all remaining fossil fuels in the United States. Federal fossil fuels already leased to industry are capable of producing decades beyond the point by which the planet must transition to clean energy to avoid devastating global warming.
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