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Feds: Only Those Committed to Destroying Planet Can Bid on Fossil Fuel Leases

(COMMON DREAMS) Nika Knight, October 21, 2016 — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Wednesday rejected land leases purchased at public auction in February by climate activist and author Terry Tempest Williams, refunding William’s payment and revoking the leases because the environmentalist publicly vowed to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

“We are disappointed in the agency’s decision to hold us to a different standard than other lessees,” Williams and her husband, Brooke Williams, responded to the BLM’s decision in a statement. “The agency claims that it cannot issue the leases because we did not commit to developing them. The BLM has never demanded that a lease applicant promise to develop the lease before it was issued. In fact, a great many lessees maintain their leases undeveloped for decades, thereby blocking other important uses of the lands such as conservation and recreation.”

“We have made clear to the BLM that we would consider developing our leases when science supports a sustainable use of the oil and gas at an increased value given the costs of climate change to future generations.”
—Terry Tempest Williams and Brooke Williams

Williams paid $2,500 ($1,680 plus a $820 processing fee) for 1,120 acres of federal land in rural Utah back in February as part of a climate action in which 100 environmentalists disrupted a fossil fuel auction, calling attention to the Obama administration’s continued leasing of public lands for oil and gas drilling even as the climate crisis worsens.

“Our purchase was more or less spontaneous, done with a coyote’s grin, to shine a light on the auctioning away of America’s public lands to extract the very fossil fuels that are warming our planet and pushing us toward climate disaster,” Williams wrotein a New York Times op-ed in March.

The BLM is now reportedly refunding Williams the $1.50-per-acre purchase price, but not the processing fee.

Source: Feds: Only Those Committed to Destroying Planet Can Bid on Fossil Fuel Leases | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community