For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2022
Kayley Shoup, Citizens Caring for the Future, (575) 302-7587, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mara Yarbrough, NM Permian Basin Climate Justice Coalition, (505) 603-0206, email@example.com
Miya King-Flaherty, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, (505) 301-0863, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Permian Basin Climate Justice Coalition condemns the Biden Administration’s June Lease Sale
In response to the Bureau of Land Management’s June 30, 2022 lease sale in New Mexico, members of the Permian Basin Climate Justice Coalition issue the following statement:
Today, the Bureau of Land Management held an online lease sale of over 520 acres on public and ancestral tribal lands in New Mexico’s Permian Basin, and thousands more across Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Oil and gas development in the Permian has more than quadrupled in the last decade, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, and produces as much climate pollution as 24 coal plants. Increased fracking in the Permian Basin has been described as the next climate bomb. We are fundamentally at a crossroads to protect our global environment and avoid more catastrophic climate events such as the historic wildfires impacting New Mexico.
As war rages and gas prices hit an all-time high, oil companies continue to sit on unused leases and permits they’ve held for years. Opening tens of thousands of additional public and ancestral tribal lands for more oil and gas drilling only serves to shackle regions such as the Permian for decades to come to boom-and-bust cycles that come with an oil-fueled economy. Continuing a legacy of pollution and extraction zones is egregious at a time when addressing the impacts of climate change and investing in renewable energy should be a top priority.
In New Mexico, 144,377 people, including 38,749 children, reside near or attend schools or daycares within a half-mile threat radius of active oil and gas operations. In Lea County, where four of the five leasing parcels are located, there has been a 17% increase in people living in close proximity to wells in the last five years. Eddy County alone has seen a 40% increase.
This lease sale symbolizes the Biden administration’s broken promise to tackle the climate crisis and address the environmental injustices that disproportionately impact Immigrant, Black, and Indigenous communities. It’s long past time for our federal government to phase out oil and gas fracking and to prioritize our climate, environment, and public health above a profiteering industry that got us into the climate crisis in the first place. It’s imperative that the federal government end leasing on public lands if the Biden administration has any hope of meeting its climate goals.
The New Mexico Permian Climate Justice Coalition is a group of concerned Permian communities and allies advocating for a just and equitable transition from oil and gas production in service of the land, workers, frontline communities, and a stable climate.
Featured image of Permian basin by SkyTruth on Flickr.