image of Oil and gas fields near Chaco

For immediate release: Aug. 16, 2021

Contact: Camilla Feibelman, camilla.feibelman@sierraclub.org, 505.715.8388

Miya King-Flaherty, miya.king-flaherty@sierraclub.org, 505.301.0863

The U.S. Interior Department issued a statement on Monday announcing that it will fight the Louisiana U.S. District Court judge’s injunction on its oil and gas leasing moratorium but comply with the judge’s order to resume federal oil and gas lease sales.

In response the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter released the following statements:

“These lease sales have been so harmful to New Mexicans. We strongly hold that no new leasing should occur on public lands. We are encouraged, however, by the Interior Department’s indication that it will use its statutory discretion in any future leasing. We hope that includes significant environmental analyses and consultations that should have come before previous lease sales took place,” said Sierra Club Rio Grande Oil and Gas Organizer Miya King-Flaherty. “The federal oil and gas program inadequately accounts for environmental harms to lands, waters, and other resources and frequently leaves impacted communities out of important conversations. Not to mention that for more than a decade, the Government Accountability Office has labeled the federal oil and gas leasing programs as “high risk” — vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and in need of transformation.”

“The Interior Department’s indication that it intends to significantly reform the broken federal coal, oil and gas leasing programs is consistent with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s commitment to reduce New Mexico’s climate pollution by 45% by 2030, said Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Director Camilla Feibelman. “The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report makes it clear that we must drastically reduce fossil fuels emissions within the decade to avoid more extreme climate disasters like those we’ve seen this summer.”

Rio Grande Chapter statement on Interior Department lease announcement