The Trump administration announced a move to make it easier to frack and mine in national forests. But conservation groups argue that it would endanger climate, wildlife and watersheds, EcoWatch reported. Open to public comment, the Center for Biological Diversity said that “More fracking and mining, with fewer safeguards, would be disastrous for national forests and watersheds.”
“Pushing new fossil-fuel development in our national forests ignores the alarm bells that world climate scientists rang loudly last week,” Taylor McKinnon, a public-lands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “National forests and public lands are where we should stop fossil-fuel expansion first.”
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, national forests in the U.S. – besides wilderness areas and national monuments – “contain 1.8 billion barrels of oil and 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas,” EcoWatch reported. And EcoWatch reported that if proposed Forest Service oil and gas rule-making was approved, it would “produce 2.4 billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution,” which is the “equivalent of annual emissions from 601 coal-fired power plants.”
While the Bureau of Land Management is known for pushing policies justifying it as “critical minerals,” conservation groups are calling on the department to “improve transparency and public involvement in decisions about drilling, fracking and mining in national forests,” EcoWatch reported.
“Instead of weakening protections, Trump should clean up the mess the mining industry has already left behind in our forests,” McKinnon said.