The Interior Department Is Trying Really, Really Hard to Sell Public Lands to Fossil Fuel Companies

by Mary Sweeters and Olivia Smith

August 10, 2017

America’s national treasures, for sale to the highest bidder to drill, frack, and mine into oblivion.

U.S. Department Land For Sale

Greenpeace activists rally outside the Interior Department building calling attention to Secretary Ryan Zinke's public land giveaways to fossil fuel companies.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

For almost two centuries, the Interior Department has been charged with managing public lands and waters in the best interests of the American people. Emphasis on people. Somehow, President Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke missed the memo — repeatedly.

Instead of looking out for American taxpayers, Zinke is advocating for the best interests of a group he finds more profitable (and at this point, more friendly towards him): oil, gas, and coal companies.

The Interior Department is in the process of dismantling every protection for public lands and waters you’ve made possible. You took action to protect the U.S. Arctic Ocean from oil drilling — Zinke wants to open it back up. You took action to stop seismic blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, Zinke wants to welcome oil companies back in. You took action to keep coal in the ground — Zinke is putting national monuments at risk by allowing drilling, fracking, and mining.

By reversing everything people like you have fought for, Zinke is giving all of us a big middle finger. If the stakes weren’t so high, it would almost be comical.

Plain and simple, none of this makes sense.

For one, public lands and waters belong to us. Americans have repeatedly indicated we don’t want our national treasures to be drilled, fracked, and mined into oblivion. If Zinke were listening to voters instead of fossil fuel lobbyists, he’d know that by now.

The coal industry is dead. Renewable energy is on the rise. Zinke’s last ditch efforts to cater to fossil fuel lobbyists are just life support for an industry peddling an outdated product that no one wants. If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, we can no longer continue to sacrifice so much for so little in return.

And now, Zinke has released a plan to allow oil drilling off the Arctic and Atlantic coasts, something that hasn’t happened in 30 years. Just last year, activists like you stopped this from happening. If we did it once, we can do it again. Take action at the link below to protect our coasts from more dangerous oil drilling!

By Mary Sweeters and Olivia Smith

Mary Sweeters is a Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace USA. She works to fight the undue influence of the oil industry in solidarity with communities affected by oil extraction, pollution, and climate change, and to advocate for a just transition to a clean energy economy. Olivia Smith is the social media intern for Greenpeace USA, based in DC.

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