On April 15, in response to news from the Department of Interior that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will post notices for significantly reformed onshore oil and gas lease sales — an 80 percent reduction from the acreage originally nominated for lease sales — NDN Collective released the following statement:
“Today’s action by the Department of Interior is critical in reducing fossil fuel expansion and keeping us on track to achieve climate justice targets in the U.S.,” said Jade Begay, director of Climate Justice at NDN Collective and member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. “We must carry this win forward to remain steadfast in our work to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and we must also turn our attention to reforming offshore oil and gas leasing. It is clear that the Department of Interior has been paying attention to the need for making decarbonization more accessible to Native and Indigenous homes, communities, and Tribal Nations, and we need that accessibility to extend even further.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released just two weeks ago warned that we only have three years to significantly reduce fossil fuel use before we reach peak emissions worldwide and meet the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We need to continue uplifting the voices of Indigenous experts to pass legislation that helps rebuild ecological systems and human communities that have been devastated by climate change.”
“We are grateful that the Department of Interior is listening to tribal and scientific communities in our call to end fossil fuel infrastructure development as a critical piece of mitigating the climate crisis,” said Kailea Frederick, NDN Collective Climate Justice Organizer. “Today’s announcement is a big win for Western states, where major oil and gas leases had originally been proposed despite this region already dealing with a mega drought, rolling black outs on high heat days, and intensive fires and smoke that make it unsafe to leave our homes.
“Despite calls by the U.S. government to ramp up fossil fuel extraction to fund yet another war, it is more urgent than ever that we continue working to phase out fossil fuels as part of our transition to renewable energy. We cannot ecologically afford to open up any more onshore or offshore oil and gas leases — to do so would be in direct violation of scientific data that calls for the need to rapidly reduce emissions at the source.”
Begay testified at an oversight hearing by the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources in December 2021, warning that leases of public land to extractive industries would further a rise in emissions, climate change, and ecological damage. You can see Begay’s full testimony here.
About NDN Collective
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.