Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–January 10, 2013. Today, as President Barack Obama builds his new energy and environment team for his second term, the Center for American Progress released “President Obama Needs to Establish a Conservation Legacy in Addition to a Drilling Legacy.” This column and the accompanying charts show that the number of acres of public land protected by President Obama over the last four years is far fewer than his four predecessors—including during the single term of President George H.W. Bush—and argue that he should use his second term as an opportunity to close this gap.
President Obama’s inadequate record on public lands protection is even more conspicuous when compared to the amount of energy development recently approved on public lands. The data show that this administration has leased approximately 2.5 times more land to oil and gas companies than it has permanently protected for the American people and future generations to use for recreation, clean air and water, and historical purposes.
While energy development is an important use of our public lands, a progressive public lands management strategy means that conservation must also be part of a balanced energy policy.
Ways to correct the imbalance between energy development and conservation on public lands include:
- Designating new national monuments under the Antiquities Act, which allows presidents to protect places of “historic or scientific interest” and has been used by 16 out of 19 presidents since 1906
- Establishing new wildlife refuges
- Working with Congress to create new wilderness and other protected areas
President Obama and his cabinet secretaries responsible for managing public lands have a serious opportunity to establish the administration’s conservation legacy and take real action to protect places across the country that local communities have worked hard to save.
Read the full column here.