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The Wilderness Society Pressures the Trump Administration to Measure the Climate Impacts From Oil and Gas Leasing

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An oil company’s plan to build a new oil well and pipeline in the Carrizo Plain National Monument in California was recently blocked. The Bureau of Land Management’s state office agreed with conservation groups that the plans did not comply with federal environmental laws.

In the last two years, the United States has sold enough oil and gas leases to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than the European Union produces in a year. That’s according to a report published this week by the The Wilderness Society

Those emissions could have a significant impact on the climate, and recent lawsuits around the country are calling out the Trump administration for failing to measure the environmental impacts of oil and gas drilling.

How Did the Report Get Its Numbers?

The conservation advocacy group that released the report looked at federal oil and gas lease sales on public lands and offshore between January of 2017 and April of 2019. Location-specific federal data was used to estimate the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would be caused by extracting and burning the fossil fuels from those leases.

Basing its measurements on standard emission factors used by the Environmental Protection Agency, The Wilderness Society found that the nearly 4,000 parcels sold at lease sales during that time period would produce a quantity of greenhouses gases equal to between 854 million and 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Onshore leases account for just over half of those estimated emissions, while offshore oil and gas leases make up the remaining 44 percent.

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