Keep It In The Ground
Environmental activist group 350.org kicked off 2017 with protests of president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet appointees. To gauge the level of support for this effort, it’s important to look at the past. It turns out 2016 was a dismal year for environmental groups across the West. We’ve compiled a list of some of the many setbacks environmentalists endured.
Keep-It-in-the-Ground activists were sparse in Denver at today’s planned protest. Not even a dozen showed up. The fact it was 11 degrees outside with snow on the ground may have been the cause. After all, it’s hard to convince people to protest oil and natural gas when your teeth are rattling. It’s far more comfortable to stay at home where your natural gas-powered furnace keeps you warm.
I don’t think anyone was surprised by the fact that the Obama Administration caved into the No DAPL protests on Sunday when the Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement for the last bit of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to go under Lake Oahe. Dismayed that the rule of law could be shouted down by rioters and saboteurs, yes. Disappointed that two court rulings and reams of supporting evidence carried less weight than baseless charges of racism and police brutality, yes. But surprised, no.
Who could be opposed to a more efficient and innovative government? Only the most extreme environmental activists, and that’s exactly what we’re witnessing this week as the Bureau of Land Management holds its first online auction for oil and natural gas leases on public lands.
Ever since President Obama handed a major victory to the environmental lobby by stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, Big Green needed a new fight. The answer was the Keep-It-in-the-Ground movement, aimed at not developing any oil or natural gas on federal lands.
The costs to taxpayers of recent Keep-It-in-the-Ground protests in Colorado are beginning to surface. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spent $2,500 on overtime pay for the Lakewood Police Department, which provided security as 300 protesters attempted to shut down the Colorado May lease sale.
The Keep-It-in-the-Ground’s global Break Free 2016 campaign came to Colorado last week and was disruptive. Two protests around Denver coincided with other demonstrations in California, New York, Washington, Europe, South America and Australia. Colorado was a focus because western oil and natural gas production has not only made America competitive in global markets, but elevated our profile among anti-fossil fuel opponents.
Today, Nevada voters hold their presidential primary for the Republican Party, and last weekend was the Democrats’ turn. Nevada is unique among the early primary states because it’s a western state and, therefore, has significant public lands. More than 80% of Nevada is owned by the federal government. As a result, the candidates have begun addressing issues of access, development and the transfer of public lands.
We compiled a brief list of recent statements as well as legislative and voting records of most candidates, where applicable.