Oil and gas lease sales move online as public pressure to stop them increases
WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the first time ever, the Obama administration will hold an online lease sale for nearly 4,300 acres of public land in Kentucky and Mississippi for oil and gas drilling. Private energy companies will submit bids today through an online platform managed by EnergyNet. The shift from holding fossil fuel lease sales from a public venue to the Internet comes amidst mounting pressure from the Keep It in the Ground movement to stop federal fossil fuel leasing altogether. Just last week, nearly 1.1 million petitions calling on President Obama to end new federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters were delivered at the White House; and 13 climate protectors representing Indigenous and frontline communities and five national environmental groups were arrested in a peaceful demonstration to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:
Online lease sales only make it easier for fossil fuel companies to turn our public lands and waters into energy sacrifice zones. The Obama administration should listen to the voices demanding a safe climate future and just transition to a renewable energy economy, not the fossil fuel industry.
The lands and waters being auctioned for fossil fuel exploitation belong to the American people, and they should be given every opportunity to be consulted in their management.
Nine lease sales have been cancelled or postponed due to public pressure. Moving the lease sales online shows that the fossil fuel industry and the Obama administration are frightened by the Keep It in the Ground movement. Online lease sales will not stop the movement’s growing momentum.