Unearthed has mapped - for the first time - the overlap between every federally protected park, forest, monument and wildlife refuge in the US and major fossil fuel deposits
An area of protected land larger than California could be at risk from fossil fuel development, as the Trump administration looks to ramp up drilling on federal lands – according to a new investigation by Unearthed.
Across the United States, 120 million acres of land protected by the federal government sits above known and potential reserves of oil, gas and coal – including huge swathes of the nation’s parks; wildlife refuges and forests.Unearthed can further reveal that – in previously unreported comments – Trump administration energy advisor, Vincent DeVito, said the government is focusing on opening up more lands “than ever before” to energy development.
The news comes after President Trump travelled to Utah on Monday to announce a huge reduction in the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments – which will be cut by 85% and 50% respectively.
A previous investigation by Unearthed found that 2 million acres of these monuments lie above fossil fuel deposits.In an effort to boost energy development the Trump administration has also:Put forward proposals – voted through by Senate Republicans on Friday – to open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling.
Looked at “restoring the balance” in the way multiple-use lands are managed – a category that includes national forests – towards increased fossil fuel extraction.Announced a review of Obama-era rules that toughened up oversight of oil and gas operations inside national parks, whilst overseeing an “explosion” of leasing along park borders.