CFACT students submit comments opposing oil & gas leasing ban to Interior forum

In Executive Order 14008, President Biden placed an indefinite moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. This move will not just harm American jobs, but have a significant negative impact on America’s environment and National Parks as well, say two CFACT student leaders.

CFACT Driessen Fellows David Bucarey of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and Grace Cancelmo of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, participated in the virtual forum hosted by the Department of the Interior discussing this issue. Then, they signed and submitted a joint letter to the Department declaring their formal opposition to the Executive Order and requesting Interior reverse the move or fast-track the reviews needed in order to restart the leasing process.

You can read their letter in full, here:

March 25, 2021

To whom it may concern,

We write this letter to provide feedback as requested by the U.S. Department of the Interior to inform their interim report as part of the comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program as called for in Executive Order 14008.

We are college students and leaders in the Collegians program of CFACT, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which has hundreds of thousands of supporters across the nation and has worked with thousands of students over the past two decades to raise awareness for proper stewardship and involve students in environmental policy. 

We participated in the Department’s virtual Forum on March 25, 2021, and we are opposed to the Administration’s decision to place the moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters as outlined in the Executive Order. It is our suggestion that the moratorium be lifted immediately or that the Department complete its review as quickly as possible to reopen the leasing process.

We love our environment and greatly value our National Parks, lands, waters, and wildlife. Yet we worry that this order will hurt our National Parks and environment, as according to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our National Parks receive a significant amount of funding from the royalties of offshore development – $900 million every year.

Our National Parks already have a backlog of $12 billion in repairs and work needed, and while part of this will be helped by the Great American Outdoors Act, it only provides half the funding needed, and pausing the leasing process for offshore oil and gas in federal waters will only further worsen this funding backlog and hurt our lands, waters, and wildlife.

It should be paramount that we protect our environment and air, but the United States already reduced emissions by 12% since 2005, thanks to free market competition and natural gas, while emissions from other nations have increased significantly.

We appreciate your time and urge the Department of the Interior to quickly reopen the leasing process for oil and gas on federal lands and waters to help our National Parks and environment.

Thank you,

David Bucarey, Psychology major, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Grace Cancelmo, Economics & Earth and Environmental Science majors, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN