Interior contradicts climate objectives with carbon bomb in Wyoming
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Interior released its Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Buffalo planning area in north-central Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management currently manages 780,000 acres of surface lands and 4.8 million acres of federal minerals in the Buffalo planning area under a 30-year-old management plan. The updated plan authorizes the production of 10.2 billion tons of coal, estimated to produce nearly 17 billion tons of carbon pollution, and thousands of new oil and gas wells. Not included in the updated plan are reclamation plans for old, idle, or abandoned wells and mined lands, consideration of the climate impacts of new fossil fuel development, and adequate conservation measures to protect vulnerable wildlife populations and their habitats, including the sage-grouse.
Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:
The Interior Department is being downright hypocritical. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently called for an “honest and open conversation about modernizing the federal coal program” in a way that is “consistent with our climate objectives.” Leasing nearly all of the remaining recoverable coal in the nation’s largest coal producing region is hardly a way to start that conversation.
Developing the Buffalo area coal leases could release up to 16.9 billion tons of carbon pollution, which nearly triples the estimated 5.3 billion tons of carbon savings from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. President Obama has committed the U.S. to carbon emissions reductions but the Buffalo Proposed Resource Management Plan takes us in exactly the wrong direction.
To avoid further climate disruption and to align the federal government’s management of our public lands with a safe and healthy climate future, new coal leases must be out of the question. The only place for dirty fossil fuels like coal is to remain in the ground.