A collection of environmentalist groups has officially started the process to sue the Biden administration in order to cut over 3,500 oil and gas drilling permits that have already been approved for two states, despite the currently raging energy crisis plaguing the nation.
This past Wednesday, a lawsuit was set in place in the Washington, D.C., District Court, two wildlife conservation activist organizations, WildEerth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity, slammed the Department of the Interior, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning with a suit that is attempting to stop the approval of a group of 3,500 permits throughout the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and the Permian Bason in New Mexico, claiming that these permits stand in violation of established environmental laws. The targets set of permits cover almost all of the permits that were approved across both the states.
“Climate change is driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation activities,” stated the groups as part of the 62-page lawsuit, which sports a massive 192-page appendix that lists all of the targeted gas and oil wells.
“In the United States, almost one quarter of all annual emissions are from fossil fuel resources extracted from public lands,” stated the group. “The drilling of these oil and gas wells will likely emit 490-600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas pollution over the course of their lifespans, equivalent to the annual emissions of between 131-161 coal fired power plants. This is both a nationally and globally significant quantity of emissions.”
in the wording of the lawsuit, the environmentalist groups claim that all of the permits were approved in direct violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), along with the relevant federal regulations. The groups also allege that the BLM failed to speak with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, in violation of the ESA; and failed “to consider or take action to prevent the unnecessary and undue degradation of public lands resulting from ongoing oil and gas permitting,” in violation of the FLPMA; failed “to take a hard look at cumulative [greenhouse gas] emissions and climate impacts” as stated under the NEPA; and outright failed to “take a hard look at environmental justice” also under NEPA, directly in relation to the “disproportionate and adverse effects from climate change” being felt by the various communities of New Mexico, Wyoming, and nationwide.
The suits are attempting to secure an injunction that would result in the vacating of the targeted leases. That option would remove almost all of the leases that had been approved for both of those states since Biden took control of the Oval Office. According to the BLM website, well over 3,8– permits were officially approved for New Mexico and Wyoming between January 21, 2021, and May 31, 2022.