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By the numbers: Onshore oil and gas leasing and drilling under the Biden administration

An at-a-glance look at onshore oil and gas leasing and permitting under the Biden administration.

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“No harm, no foul” doesn’t exist in oil and gas leasing

Report finds wilderness-quality lands are nearly 3 TIMES less likely to be managed to protect those characteristics if they are overlapped by oil and gas leases—even if those leases are purely speculative and are not being drilled.

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Greater Hart-Sheldon

The Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in Oregon and the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada help protect a critical sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. Watch the short film to hear what makes this region so special and unique, and the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem between the two refuges for the survival of pronghorn and other wildlife.

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Chumash Heritage Marine Sanctuary

The Northern Chumash people have been protecting and caring for California’s Central Coast since before the United States became a country. Now, they’re asking the federal government to protect California’s Central Coast as a marine heritage sanctuary. Hear from the chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribe and a public interest attorney about how the proposed sanctuary would benefit marine life, the environment, the local economy, and the Chumash people.

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Avi Kwa Ame

Avi Kwa Ame means “Spirit Mountain” in the Mojave language. It is located in Southern Nevada and is the place where the tribe’s first members are said to have emerged. Their stories are recorded in petroglyphs near the mountain’s southern edge, while one of the country’s largest concentrations of Joshua trees sits just west of the mountain. Hear from two Fort Mojave tribal members about why the area is special to their community and why it needs protection.

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Road to 30: Postcards

To reach the 30×30 goal, we must support the people and communities who are working tirelessly to protect places that matter.

That’s why the Center for Western Priorities created Road to 30: Postcards—a multimedia series telling the stories of everyday Americans and the places they want to conserve for future generations.

Enjoy stories of iconic places that deserve to be conserved, told in documentary style short films, podcast episodes, digital interactives, blogs, virtual panel discussions, and more.

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Castner Range

Castner Range is a former military weapons testing site that is located at the base of the Franklin Mountain Range in northeast El Paso, Texas. The area is currently threatened by residential and commercial development, but advocates for creating a Castner Range National Monument want to change that. They say green space is important in a city like El Paso, which is one of the largest urban areas in the United States, and they hope the Range will be opened to the public one day.

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Bears Ears National Monument

Named for two iconic buttes that are visible from miles around in Southeast Utah, Bears Ears National Monument boasts one of the highest concentrations of archaeological sites in North America. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world. Hear from two people who have been working for decades to ensure this awe-inspiring landscape is treated with the respect and reverence it deserves.

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The Camping Crunch

A new digital interactive report analyzing public lands camping data reveals that summer use of reservable national public lands camping facilities has increased at least as rapidly as overall public lands visitation. The report examines trends across the country and provides interactive maps.

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Every generation contributes to America’s greatest idea

President Biden has an opportunity to define our modern conservation legacy and join the ranks of our greatest conservation leaders by using the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments around the country. Such monuments are popular, beneficial to local economies, and a key part of past conservation successes such as famous national parks.

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Despite oil industry howling, companies are awash in public lands drilling permits

When the Biden administration enacted a temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands, the oil industry said the sky was falling, predicting massive job losses and production cuts. In the meantime, drill rig counts increased, stock prices rose, and major oil companies flush with cash began taking steps for their shareholders to reap the benefits. Data from the Bureau of Land Management shows that, despite industry fear mongering, oil companies had nearly 10,000 approved, but unused public lands drilling permits as of 2021, an all-time high in recent memory.

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2021 Western States Legislative Summary

Building on previous analysis in 2019 of Western states’ legislative challenges and accomplishments related to public lands conservation, climate change, and responsible energy development, the Center for Western Priorities spoke with state-based conservation organizations to develop a legislative summary of the highlights and challenges for conservation from the 2021 legislative session.

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30×30 Fact vs. Fiction: Pulling back the curtain on misinformation

The Biden administration has established a goal to conserve 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030 for the benefit of all Americans. This goal, known as “30×30,” has been recommended by scientists in order to prevent the collapse of the planet’s natural systems while supporting communities across the country. Although the 30×30 initiative has widespread support from elected leaders, scientists, and the public, a number of bad actors have worked to spread misinformation on the topic. It’s time to set the record straight. Let’s take a look at the established facts.

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Protecting America’s Iconic Places: How national monuments can conserve our natural heritage and 30% of our lands and waters

One of the many ways we can reach the 30×30 goal is through creating and expanding national monuments. National monuments demonstrate how we can turn the 30×30 principles into action, combining local conservation efforts with the resources necessary to manage and protect them. Check out five special places in the American West that could be America’s next national monument.

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The Western Road to 30

The Center for Western Priorities’ Western Road to 30 report (website) examines how Western states are contributing to the bold goal to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

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The oil industry’s forfeited public lands stockpile

The oil and gas industry has spent recent months fear mongering about the Biden administration’s temporary pause on new federal oil and gas leases; however, new analysis finds that the industry has been forfeiting drilling leases and permits for years.

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Western Oil and Gas Spills Tracker

Each year, the Center for Western Priorities tracks oil and gas-related spills in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, assessing what spilled, where spills occur, and what companies are responsible, among other factors. Check out the latest data, or explore reports from past years.

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The oil industry’s public lands stockpile

The Center for Western Priorities’ digital interactive report on the oil industry’s public lands stockpile examines the millions of acres of idle leases stockpiled by the oil and gas industry. The report maps out oil and gas leases and finds that the oil industry is currently sitting on 9.9 million acres of idle leases across ten Western states—47.4 percent of all leases in the region.

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The dismal legacy of Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ agenda

The Center for Western Priorities‘ report on The Dismal Legacy of Trump’s ‘Energy Dominance’ Agenda shows how the Trump administration magnified pre-existing problems in the oil and gas system. Led by former oil lobbyist Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, the Trump administration took full advantage of an outdated legal system that benefits companies over taxpayers. The report offers suggestions for comprensively reforming the leasing system.

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Winning the West: Election 2020

The Center for Western Priorities Winning the West: Election 2020 report reveals the growing trend of winning candidates highlighting their support for public lands and outdoor issues in order to connect with Mountain West voters in this year’s elections. Check out this report PDF to learn how public lands—how they are used, their importance to local economies, and the way they define life in the West—were a key component of winning campaigns in 2020.

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