FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Terry Tempest Williams & Brooke Williams Appeal to Interior Board of Land Appeals Over Oil and Gas Lease Purchase

Castle Valley, Utah

Today, on behalf of Terry Tempest Williams and Brooke Williams, the Western Environmental Law Center administratively challenged the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) rejection of the Tempest Exploration Company’s October 2016 bids on oil and gas leases in Utah. WELC filed the appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals, which reviews appeals from bureau decisions relating to the use and disposition of public lands and their resources.

“The BLM’s decision to reject our lease bids highlights the agency’s misdirected and antiquated approach to fossil fuels,” said Terry Tempest Williams. “This case shines a light on BLM’s fidelity to the oil and gas industry while willfully ignoring the urgency—in an era of climate change—of more enlightened management of the public lands that belong to the American people.”

BLM’s rejection of the Tempest Exploration Company’s bids on oil and gas leases holds the company to a different standard than other lessees based on politics. The Williamses met all the legal requirements of the leasing process and bid on two leases for which there was no other interested party. They were forthright about their intent to consider developing the leases when science supports sustainable use of the oil and gas, accounting for the costs of climate change to future generations.

Oil and gas companies routinely base their exploration and development decisions on the price of oil and other market factors and often hold their leases for years or decades without drilling. Currently, about 20 million acres of public land under lease for oil and gas development are not being developed. The BLM has “suspended” many of these leases, meaning that the lessees no longer pay rent on them, although lessees continue to control the land. The BLM has extended these undeveloped leases essentially in perpetuity, yet the agency rejected the Tempest Exploration Company’s bids made under the same economic principles.

The two approaches diverge in that the fossil fuel industry passes the costs of climate change on to present and future generations, where the Tempest Exploration Company would develop only when those costs could be mitigated in the public interest. In 2016 alone, there have been 12 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the U.S. The global economic impact of climate change is estimated at $1.2 trillion each year, representing 1.6 percent of world gross domestic profit (GDP).

“The process for extracting carbon from public lands was developed during a time vastly different from the one we are living in now,” said Brooke Williams. “What is needed in the twenty-first century is restraint and reform.”

“Under the Mineral Leasing Act, Terry Tempest and Brooke Williams have a legal right to have their lease bids considered on an even basis with other bidders,” said Laura King, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “It is arbitrary and capricious for BLM to issue leases to oil and gas speculators for the control millions of acres of our public lands, while rejecting bids from those who would hold these lands in the name of a sustainable future.”

A copy of the appeal is available here.

Read more about our work with Terry Tempest Williams and Brooke Williams here.

More articles by:

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail