In August 2022, Congress overhauled the system for leasing oil and gas on America’s public lands when it passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Many of the updates were long overdue and intended to restore balance to a system that had been rigged in favor of the...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In office, Interior Secretary David Berhard raced to enact the policy priorities of the oil, gas, and mining industries at the expense of vulnerable communities across the country. Such blatant favoritism required bending laws and ethics rules, all of which led to Bernhardt’s dismal record in the courts. As Bernhardt takes years of anti-conservation baggage and blatant contempt for Indigenous communities back to the private sector, the next administration will face the tall task of undoing the damage. Here’s a look inside Bernhardt’s destructive track record.
In 2020, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced his department was formally removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list, opening the door for states to allow increased hunting and trapping. An analysis by the Center for Western Priorities found that the Trump administration ignored overwhelming public opposition in delisting the gray wolf.
Research from our Winning the West 2020 poll shows the in the midst of a global pandemic, Mountain West voters’ connection to the outdoors has never been deeper and support for public lands conservation is growing. Ads from CWP highlight the Mountain West’s growing outdoor voting bloc—estimated to be 2 million voters strong.
2020 polling shows that the importance of the outdoors to Western voters remained strong during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the importance of public lands increasing for a third of voters.