One Million ask the BLM to Protect Public Lands from Fracking
Friday marked the final day to comment on the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed rules to govern fracking on public lands. And as the comments closed, NRDC joined other environmental and public interest groups in delivering a combined total of over one million comments from members of the public asking the BLM to reverse course and rethink its weak proposal. While there was a range of opinions amongst the commenters, all called on the Obama Administration to do more to put a stop to the dangerous fracking that threatens our environment, clean air and clean water, our health, and our public lands.
The rules proposed by the BLM would apply to fracking on about 700 million acres of federal and tribal lands, including National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and other public lands. In addition, the rule would cover another 57 million acres of oil and gas rights that the government owns below private lands. Rules governing fracking in these areas must protect the lands and waters themselves, but also the millions of people who visit these areas to camp, hike, hunt, and fish each year, and the many more who live, work and go to school nearby. Many local economies depend on the preservation of public lands, and these lands also provide clean drinking water to tens of millions of Americans.
NRDC and many partner organizations submitted detailed technical comments on the fracking rules to the BLM on Friday. For an overview of those comments see Amy Mall’s blog on the subject.
The BLM has progressively weakened the proposed fracking rules under pressure from the oil and gas industry. However, after the public outpouring of support for greater protections, the BLM has a chance to reassess its proposal and release a final rule that does much more to protect communities, public health, clean water, and the public lands that the Bureau is tasked with managing for current and future generations.
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