‘Frivolous protests on anti-fossil fuel sentiments or general opinions are not helpful to the BLM in addressing legitimate protest concerns…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) After public protests failed to stop President Donald Trump from authorizing the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines, environmentalists have turned to lawsuits.
Environmental groups are challenging nearly every oil and gas lease proposed by the Trump administration.
The federal government has offered 4,000 land parcels to oil and gas drillers since 2016, and formal protests have challenged about 90 percent of them, Reuters reported.
President Barack Obama’s administration offered about 2,250 parcels for lease in 2012, slightly more than the Trump administration currently offers. Yet environmentalists protested fewer than 500 parcels.
The ‘Keep it in the Ground’ movement did not emerge until Trump took office, likely because Obama assured the environmentalists that he would crush domestic oil and gas drilling.
Between 2012 and 2016, the Obama administration reduced oil and gas leases from about 2,250 land parcels to slightly more than 500.
Trump has reversed that trend, offering 17 million acres for oil and gas drilling, up from the meager 4.2 million acres that Obama offered during 2015 and 2016.
The lawsuits require the Trump administration to review the impact that new oil and gas leases will have on global warming and wildlife.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management said the legal challenges slow processing times and increase costs. The delays likely cause higher energy prices for American citizens.
Many lawsuits are absurd in length and breadth.
BLM spokesman Derrick Henry said WildEarth Guardians sent a 1,095-page protest for a parcel lease in New Mexico.
“Frivolous protests on anti-fossil fuel sentiments or general opinions are not helpful to the BLM in addressing legitimate protest concerns,” Henry said.
With the increase in delays, oil drillers have abandoned some land leases, according to Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance drillers association, Reuters reported.
Oil drillers then turn to private land, leaving public land vacant and the federal government without a revenue source.