Although the U.S. Interior Department’s ongoing approval of fossil fuel development on our public lands speaks volumes to the agency’s refusal to combating climate change, it sure helps to have words convey how the Department really feels.
In response to concerns raised by WildEarth Guardians over the climate impacts of open public lands for fracking in Utah, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management made clear, in no uncertain terms, its denial over climate change. In spite of virtually unanimous scientific consensus, years of study and confirmation by climate scientists throughout the world, and despite even the President’s own acknowledgement that no challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change, the Bureau of Land Management says there is “substantial” disagreement and uncertainty over climate change.
Actions speak louder than words, but words certainly add clarity. At the Interior Department, climate denial is clearly in full force and effect.
And think this is just an anomaly? As reported here before, the Interior Department’s track record on acknowledging and taking responsibility for the climate impacts of fossil fuel development is about as ugly as it gets and includes dismissing carbon costs, extolling the climate benefits of renewable energy while completely ignoring the massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions released by oil, gas, and coal development on public lands, and Sally Jewell herself implicitly denying the climate implications of more fossil fuel development.
It’s been bad, but clearly it’s getting worse at Interior. With the agency’s now explicit denial of climate change, it’s clear that the Department of the Interior may be the biggest single impediment to climate progress in the Obama Administration.
UPDATE: Earlier this week, WildEarth Guardians directly challenged the Interior Department’s climate denial, filing protests to overturn the agency’s latest oil and gas leasing plans. With Sally Jewell also this week now saying that “cutting carbon pollution” should inform Interior Department decisions, there’s no way these latest oil and gas leasing plans can be justified.