Americans should know exactly how much greenhouse gas is produced from public land drilling

The Hill
By Nancy Pfund
June 25, 2018

The style of deci­sion-mak­ing under­tak­en by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has been rais­ing aware­ness — and in some instances seri­ous con­cerns — about the lack of infor­ma­tion the pub­lic knows, and has a right to know, about how major poli­cies are made by our gov­ern­ment.

We have seen sev­er­al dis­turb­ing exam­ples of this recent­ly as infor­ma­tion relat­ed to deci­sions has come to light high­light­ing the process through which the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment makes huge­ly impact­ful deci­sions about ener­gy devel­op­ment on pub­lic lands on the Unit­ed States.
In addi­tion to being the world’s largest econ­o­my and its biggest mil­i­tary force, the Unit­ed States is also one of the world’s largest ener­gy asset man­agers, con­trol­ling sub­sur­face min­er­al rights on 700 mil­lion acres. As a result, the U.S. gov­ern­ment is a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to cli­mate change, with 20 per­cent or more of all U.S. green­house gas emis­sions the result of ener­gy pro­duced on pub­licly owned lands. Despite this mas­sive impact, there is lit­tle infor­ma­tion avail­able about the amount of car­bon diox­ide and methane, two of the pri­ma­ry dri­vers of cli­mate change, emit­ted on pub­lic lands.

This lack of basic infor­ma­tion is espe­cial­ly trou­bling con­sid­er­ing what we are learn­ing about how the Trump admin­is­tra­tion views our pub­lic lands, which appears to be drill any­time and any­where. We saw evi­dence of this phi­los­o­phy ear­li­er this year for exam­ple, when we learned through doc­u­ments released via court order that the Trump administration’s deci­sion to reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Stair­case Nation­al Mon­u­ments were heav­i­ly influ­enced by oil and gas inter­ests who want­ed to lease the land for explo­ration and devel­op­ment.

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