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Chair Grijalva on Forest Service Oil and Gas Deregulation Proposal: The Trump Administration is Giving Away Our Public Lands as Fast as Possible

09.01.20

Washington D.C. – Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) publication of a proposed deregulation of oil and gas development on National Forest System lands.

Under the proposal, the Forest Service – part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – would have fewer opportunities to push back against potentially problematic lease sales, keep the public in the dark about proposals to drill, and shortcut reviews of how drillers would harm our national forests. The nation’s more than 190 million acres of National Forest System lands are traditionally managed for a variety of purposes, including outdoor recreation, watershed protection, timber production, and wildlife and fish habitat. Trump’s Interior Department has already offered nearly 25 million acres of public lands for lease to oil and gas companies, and the price of oil dipped below zero earlier this year because over-drilling has already led to a major worldwide supply glut.

“Since 2017, the Trump administration has made it easier for polluters to drill, mine, and log wherever they want with fewer public health safeguards and shorter review times. Trump and his allies have spent three and a half years giving Big Oil whatever it wants and calling it an energy strategy, and this proposal is part of that larger failed agenda. Two years ago, when the Forest Service first began this rulemaking, I stressed that putting oil and gas development over other land uses would lead to more pollution and violate Forest Service mandates that date back to its founding. True to the Trump family brand, USFS is perfectly happy to help the president’s rich friends make a quick buck at everyone else’s expense.”

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