It's No Time for Business as Usual

Anne Shields
|March 27, 2020

As the nation’s attention is focused on keeping its families healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic, the administration continues its aggressive push to hand over some of our most iconic public lands to oil and gas drilling, mineral extraction, and development.

The administration’s agenda requires major policy changes and these changes require the public’s input. This is where you come in.

An administration that respects the will of the American people would not take advantage of a national crisis to avoid public scrutiny by short-circuiting the planning process. This is exactly what this administration is doing.

While parents are focused on childcare and homeschooling, and people are worried about their jobs, their parents, their future economic well-being and their health, it’s difficult for them to focus on other important activities. Yet the Department of the Interior chooses this moment to accelerate its effort to gut irreplaceable landscapes. Why is it so important to do this now — at this time of national crisis — especially when there is a glut in the oil and gas markets? Where are their priorities?

States, counties and cities throughout the states have called for a formal pause on all active comment periods because they are unable to provide thoughtful input. But the administration continues to move forward. This week they are pushing forward with oil and gas lease sales on more than 200,000 acres of public land in four states — Wyoming, Nevada, Montana and Colorado.

This is why the Conservation Lands Foundation and nearly a hundred other community-based and national organizations have officially requested that the Department of the Interior suspend major changes to policies and regulations, oil and gas lease sales, and related public comment periods for the immediate future. We’re making it easy for you to add your voice and tell your member of Congress that the administration’s action cannot stand.

People must be heard in order for the will of the people to prevail. Tell your member of Congress to call upon Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to suspend these destructive actions so that Americans can maintain their proper focus on our collective health and well-being. This administration’s desire to destroy public lands can wait until the end of this national emergency when people can meaningfully participate in these processes.

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About Anne Shields
Anne Shields is the Former Chief of Staff of the Department of the Interior and a Board Member for the Conservation Lands Foundation.