Tlaib, Jayapal Lead Letter to President Biden Urging Him to Phase Out Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands

This release has been updated to include Representatives Steve Cohen and Adam Schiff.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led 31 of their colleagues in a letter to President Biden urging him to phase out federal fossil fuel production by 2030 and include fossil fuel phase outs in upcoming Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management rulemaking. Rep. Tlaib will highlight the letter’s asks at the March to End Fossil Fuels press conference at 11:00 am Thursday morning on Capitol Hill.

“With ever greater concern about the dire state of the climate emergency, we write to urge you to phase out oil and gas production on federal lands and waters by 2030. Climate disasters are increasing in frequency and severity. Wildfire flames and smoke are forcing communities to evacuate across the country. Sea level rise is shrinking coastal areas and dismantling infrastructure. Hurricanes are becoming stronger, devastating entire communities, and headlines of record-breaking heat and cold are starting to become normal. July was the hottest month in recorded history. The climate crisis is here now and causing widespread death and destruction,” wrote the members.

The science is abundantly clear: it is time to stop fossil fuel expansion and begin fossil fuel phase out. Phasing out oil and gas production on public lands and waters is a key step towards that goal that the Biden Administration can take immediately. Almost a full quarter of all the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions come from federal public lands, alone. There is no way to curb ever increasing risks of climate disasters without eliminating this source of climate pollution.

“It is still possible to keep international climate commitments and limit warming to 1.5° C. If we are to reach this goal, however, we must continue to turn our current climate trajectory around in the next couple of years. To do this we must pair the historic investment in climate in the Inflation Reduction Act with strong administrative actions such as a phase down of fossil fuel production on public lands. Our constituents are counting on the federal government to use all tools at our disposal to save our planet,” the members concluded.

The Mineral Leasing Act, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act, and other laws provide clear authority for the Department of the Interior to control rates of fossil fuel production on leased land.

The letter was signed by: Representatives Raúl Grijalva (Ranking Member, Committee on Natural Resources), Jerrold Nadler (Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee), Jamie Raskin (Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight and Accountability), James McGovern (Ranking Member, Committee on Rules), Nydia Velázquez (Ranking Member, Committee on Small Business), Becca Balint, Nanette Barragán, Earl Blumenauer, Jamaal Bowman, André Carson, Greg Casar, Yvette Clark, Emanuel Cleaver, Steve Cohen, Mark DeSaulnier, Adriano Espaillat, Jesús “Chuy” García, Jimmy Gomez, Jared Huffman, Jonathan Jackson, Henry “Hank” Johnson, Barbara Lee, Summer Lee, Grace Meng, Eleanor Norton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Janice Schakowsky, Adam Schiff and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

The letter is endorsed by 125 organizations across the country, including: Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth US, Food & Water Watch, Oxfam America, Climate Hawks Vote, 350.org, Greenpeace USA, Zero Hour, Taproot Earth, Roots Action, Earthworks, GreenLatinos, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, Oil and Gas Action Network, Rainforest Action Network, Center for Climate Change and Health, Climate Equity Policy Center, and the Global Warming Education Network. The letter echoes key demands made by more than 500 American and international organizations in a June 2023 letter to the Biden Administration urging a halt to fossil fuel expansion.

“If President Biden is looking for a way to keep his promise to end drilling on federal lands, Representatives Jayapal, Tlaib and their 31 colleagues have provided it,” said Gladys Delgadillo of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The federal fossil fuel program is a profound threat to life on Earth, and it’s totally within President Biden’s control. There’s not a single good reason for it to still exist in 2030.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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