The U.S. House of Representatives voted today on a bill that prioritizes fossil fuel extraction over every other use of America’s public lands, including hunting, fishing, protection of water supplies, and wildlife habitat, among many others.
By a vote of 228–192, House members approved HR 1965, the first of a batch of pro-industry, anti-environment bills up for a vote this week. None of the bills are expected to be taken up by the U.S. Senate.
Among other things, the bill would:
- Fast-track drilling permit approvals on public lands;
- Turn over important public lands management decisions to the oil and gas industry;
- Expedite oil drilling in the nation's largest single piece of federal land and a 22-million acre reserve home to wild lands and vibrant wildlife such as grizzly and polar bears, walrus, beluga whales and caribou.
The following is a statement from Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Jessica Ennis:
“This bill is an irresponsible giveaway to the oil and gas industry at the expense of anyone who gets their drinking water from public lands or enjoys hunting or fishing on these lands. Our public lands belong to all Americans. It’s truly shameful that 228 members of the House of Representatives believe that the oil and gas industry is more entitled to these areas than the rest of us.
“With the growing list of critical issues facing our country, it’s disappointing—although not surprising—that House majority leadership is taking time out to cater to oil and gas industry interests.”