Climate Activists Call on President Obama to Cancel Fossil Fuel Auction Coinciding with Paris Climate Talks

Groups Build on Worldwide Call to “Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground”

WASHINGTON — Climate organizations are calling on President Obama to cancel a fossil fuel auction slated for the final days of the Paris climate talks. Groups argue that selling oil and gas to the highest bidder is inconsistent with President Obama’s recent climate leadership, and during the UN summit sends an especially hypocritical message to the international community.

Calling on the President to “Keep Fossil Fuels In the Ground,” activists will be planning an action outside the fossil fuel auction site in downtown Washington, DC. Similar protests have been organized outside auction sites in Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska, and Utah over the last month. In anticipation of protests, the Obama Administration delayed the fossil fuel auction in Utah scheduled for November.

Supporting organizations include: 350.org, CREDO, The Indigenous Environmental Network, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, Rainforest Action Network, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth U.S., WildEarth Guardians, and U.S. Climate Plan

Event details can be found on facebook here.

The fossil fuel auction announcement can be found here.

Groups organizing the action issued the following statements:

“If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it is wrong for the US government to be in the business of selling coal, oil and gas to the fossil fuel industry. Cancelling this fossil fuel auction during Paris would send the a clear signal to the international community that the U.S. is serious about keeping fossil fuels in the ground.” May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org

“If we’re finally going to tackle the climate crisis, the president’s domestic policies need to match his international aspirations. That should start by ending new federal fossil fuel leases and keeping up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution in the ground,” said Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Federal fossil fuels contain half of the potential greenhouse gas pollution of all fossil fuels in the US.”

“We have to end corporate rule of our climate and our democracy. Exxon lied, Peabody denied. President Obama can begin to break the stronghold of energy companies and transition to a just and clean energy future by taking a small step that would send a clear signal–cancel the public fossil fuel sale on December 10. No more selling, drilling and fracking of our shared resources for $2 an acre. People powered opposition will be out in Paris, DC, and around the country to ensure that we are doing all that we can to keep fossil fuels in the ground.” Ruth Breech, Senior Campaigner, Rainforest Action Network

“It’s the height of hypocrisy for President Obama to be talking a big climate game in Paris, while his administration is selling our public lands for fracking and extreme fossil fuel extraction as part of his all-of-the-above energy strategy. Last month, over 1250 global organizations delivered a letter to the President calling on him to ban fracking and quickly transition to 100% renewable energy. Instead of all-of-the-above, President Obama should keep it in the ground and ban new fossil fuel leases on our public lands.” Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food and Water Watch

“It is hypocritical for President Obama to claim climate leadership in Paris while continuing to open up our lands and waters to Fossil Fuel Empires. With more fossil fuels leased to private industry than can be safely burned, any new lease sale is a shameful step in the wrong direction. To avoid climate catastrophe, we need President Obama to be bold and leave publicly owned fossil fuels in the ground.” Marissa Knodel, Climate Campaigner, Friends of the Earth U.S.

“President Obama’s energy policy promotes the mining of coal and fracking for oil and gas just about anywhere on public land that dirty energy companies want. This President is trying to wrap his dirty 20th century energy policy up in 21st century climate policy packaging and hoping no one notices what’s really under the tree. President Obama has mastered the climate talk; now he has one year left to walk the climate walk and stop selling dirty fuels from our public lands to companies that deny climate change is even happening.” Tim Ream, Climate and Energy Campaign Director, WildEarth Guardians.

“Carbon pollution standards and promoting the growth of renewable energy are two extremely important pieces to solving the climate puzzle. The third piece is ending the extraction of fossil fuels at the source. If President Obama truly believes what he said in his speech in Paris, that ‘there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us,’ then he should be doing everything in his executive authority to keep the fossil fuels that cause climate change in the ground. The President has a clear opportunity here to do more than just say the right things—this is an opportunity to truly lead by stopping the sale of federally owned fossil fuels.” Evan Weber, Executive Director, U.S. Climate Plan