(COMMON DREAMS) Sarah Lazare, November 4, 2015 — A handful of Democratic Senators, along with 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, on Wednesday unrolled a bill that would go far beyond anything the administration of President Barack Obama has proposed by prohibiting all new coal, oil, and gas drilling on federally-owned lands and waters—from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic circle.
The Keep It in the Ground Act was introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Specifically, the proposed legislation would block corporations from pursuing new and non-producing leases for coal, oil, gas, shale, and tar sands extraction on federal land. In addition, it would ban offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans and halt new and non-producing leases in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico.
“We are taking on the Koch brothers and some of the most powerful political forces in the world who are more concerned with short-term profits than the future of the planet,” said Sanders in a statement accompanying the bill. “I’ve got four kids, and I’ve got seven beautiful grandchildren. We have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and inhabitable.”