Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground
Dirty Fuel Disasters In America
Protecting our public lands from mining and drilling will safeguard America's natural heritage, preserve wildlife habitat, help keep our air and water clean, and combat climate disruption. Development currently proposed on our public lands by coal, oil, and gas companies would release more than 100 billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, worsening climate disruption. We need to keep these dirty fossil fuels in the ground.
The vast majority of America's public lands remain highly vulnerable to threats from mining, drilling, fracking, and other forms of fossil-fuel extraction. Protecting land and water will preserve landscapes and wildlife habitat and keep our air and water clean, it will also stimulate nearby local economies and create jobs. Increasingly, recreation is replacing fossil-fuel extraction as an economic driver on America's public lands. The outdoor recreation economy generates $646 billion each year and supports 6.5 million jobs. These numbers will continue to grow if we keep our public lands and waters unsullied.
Among Our Wild America's top priorities are slowing the out-of-control development of the western coalfields, stopping oil drilling in America’s Arctic, and preventing the expansion of fracking for natural gas.
The oil industry’s drive for bigger profits is increasingly threatening our coasts. Industry efforts to drill the Outer Continental Shelf threatens beaches and coastal economies from Virginia to Florida. As we’ve seen most recently with the BP disaster, drilling equals spilling. The Our Wild America campaign works to prevent the expansion of dangerous oil drilling, both onshore and off, especially in places like America’s Arctic. Read more.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, controls approximately one-third of the nation’s coal resources, mainly on public lands west of the Mississippi River, where more than half of U.S. coal reserves are located. Under the BLM’s coal program, the coal companies themselves are placed in the driver’s seat, with most new coal leases proposed by the industry. Read more.
One of the biggest threats to our public lands is drilling for natural gas, which has been radically transformed in recent years with the advent of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” -- a violent process that injects a highly-pressurized cocktail of water and toxic chemicals into shale rock formations to dislodge natural gas. Fracking damages the land, contaminates drinking water, pollutes the air, causes illness in surrounding communities, and is even known to have caused earthquakes. It is also a major threat to our climate. Read more.