by Michael Bastach
Massachusetts Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan for the 640 millions of acres controlled by the federal government.
Warren’s “plan for public lands,” released Monday, includes banning coal, natural gas and oil production, and making all national parks free to visit. Warren’s goal is to tackle climate change while spurring economic development on federal lands.
“It is wrong to prioritize corporate profits over the health and safety of our local communities,” Warren wrote in a Medium post announcing her plan. Warren says she wants to “make public lands part of the climate solution – not the problem.”
“That’s why on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands,” she wrote.
That’s a complete one-eighty from the Trump administration’s agenda of promoting natural resource development. Warren also set a goal of getting 10 percent of U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy on public lands and waters.
“My administration will make it a priority to expedite leases and incentivize development in existing designated areas, and share royalties from renewable generation with states and local communities to help promote economic development and reduce local dependence on fossil fuel revenues,” Warren wrote.
Conservatives were critical of Warren’s plan to halt all new fossil fuel production, saying it would endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Declaring war on western states where energy production makes up a lot of the economy is probably not a great idea when you represent a state that has to import natural gas from Russia to get through the winter,” said Dan Kish, a senior distinguished fellow at the Institute for Energy Research.
Fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters supports 676,000 jobs and $134 billion in economic output, according to Interior Department figures. Some Native American tribes also subsist off revenues from coal gas and oil production.
“‘Banned in Boston’ is going to take on a whole new meaning to the men and women who keep the lights on in this country,” Kish told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email.
“I’d also reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air, and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide,” Warren wrote.
The Trump administration scaled back the Obama-era regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations on federal lands, and the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to repeal the so-called “waters of the United States” rule late last year.
Warren also pledged to eliminate the $11 billion maintenance backlog at national parks while, but also promised to make it free to enter every national park. About 112 parks currently charge entrance fees, which go towards park maintenance.
“There’s no better illustration of how backwards our public lands strategy is than the fact that today, we hand over drilling rights to fossil fuel companies for practically no money at all — and then turn around and charge families who make the minimum wage more than a day’s pay to access our parks,” Warren wrote.
“The National Park Service is funded by taxpayers, and it’s long past time to make entry into our parks free to ensure that visiting our nation’s treasures is within reach for every American family,” she added.
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