Enviros Announce Major Protest Against Trump’s Move To Frack On Public Lands

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A group of environmentalists announced Monday they plan on holding protests later this year targeting the Trump administration’s decision to allow hydraulic fracking on remote public lands in Utah.

Activists are planning a December protest over what they believe is the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) failure to address how fracking will worsen pollution and public health in a sparsely populated portion of Utah.

“This leasing plan disregards grave risks to public health and endangered species in favor of short-term profits for fossil fuel companies,” Diana Dascalu-Joffe, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said in a press statement. She was referring to the president’s move to open 94,000 acres in the Uintah Basin for natural gas development.

BLM is refusing to analyze whether more fracking would violate the Clean Air Act’s regulations on ozone pollution, and health studies have linked ozone exposure to various public health problems, according to CBD’s statement.

Sierra Club is slated to join CBD’s protest. Both groups feel the BLM also failed to ensure the protection of several endangered species, including the razorback sucker and Mexican spotted owl.

“This decision continues the Trump administration’s attack on our national parks and public lands,” Lena Moffitt, senior director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America Campaign, added in a joint statement with the CBD.

“Our parks and public lands are for Americans to enjoy and explore, not to be exploited for fossil fuel industry profits,” she said. Activists were enraged after President Donald Trump suggested eliminating Obama-era regulations preventing fracking on federal and American Indian land.

State and tribal governments would be responsible for enforcing fracking regulations on those lands if former President Barack Obama’s rules are rolled back. The Department of Interior and the BLM are responsible for governing fracking on public land.

Some analysts estimate that the 2015 regulation costs the oil and gas industry $45 million per year to comply with protections and safeguards widely considered redundant, according to the BLM proposal.

The rule pits environmentalists against industry groups. Environmentalists support the rule as necessary for protecting clean water, but critics say that state and local regulations are enough, according to E&E News.

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