Sierra Club Applauds Biden Climate Action on Public Lands, Waters


Virginia Cramer,, 804-519-8449

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of promised swift action on the climate, today the Biden Administration is expected to announce it will pause new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters, review existing leases and permits, and increase offshore wind renewable energy development. Taken together with the existing 60-day pause on fossil fuel development, which includes an examination of the federal coal leasing program, the order makes significant progress in addressing climate emissions from public lands. 

The order also directs agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and to instead identify new opportunities to spur clean energy. A new task force will coordinate investments and support for  communities heavily dependent on fossil fuels through the economic transition, with an eye toward turning idled fossil fuel sites into economic generators. 

In response, Athan Manuel, director of Public Lands Protection issued the following statement. 

“We applaud the Biden administration’s efforts to chart a new path for our country’s lands and waters. Pausing new oil and gas leasing will improve the health of our communities, our climate and our wild places. 

“In the last year, the Trump Administration leased nearly a million acres for oil and gas and gave the green light for coal mine expansions on public lands in Montana, Utah, Colorado, and North Dakota. We look forward to working with the Biden administration to secure lasting solutions that address the climate impacts of coal, oil and gas leasing and put in place long-overdue protections for communities, taxpayers, and the climate. 

“Public lands can, and must, be part of the climate solution. They can play a vital role in reaching the goal of conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030 -- levels scientists say are needed to halt the climate and extinction crises. They must also be a part of a just recovery by reinvesting in communities, tapping fossil fuel workers to clean up past pollution, and bringing communities together to diversify economies in ways that allow everyone to benefit. ” 


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit