Saturday, 23 April 2016 00:00

Earth Day Marks One-Year Anniversary of POPLA Bill, Which Would Ban Fracking on All Public Lands

Written by Food and Water Watch

Today, Earth Day, marks the first anniversary of the Protect Our Public Lands Act (POPLA), federal legislation introduced by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) that would ban fracking on all public lands. In the past year the bill has gained strong momentum, picking up 37 House cosponsors.

With much attention this Earth Day focused on global alarm over an impending climate change crisis, POPLA supporters and advocates are pointing to the huge impact continued oil and gas extraction - facilitated primarily through fracking – is having on our warming planet.

“We owe it to our future generations to protect our public lands,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Fracking remains a threat to our air, water, and public health. Even with regulations, fracking could cause water contamination, methane leaks, earthquakes, and habitat destruction. The only way to avoid these risks is to ban fracking on public lands. It’s been a year since I first introduced the Protect Our Public Lands Act with Congresswoman Schakowsky and I remain as committed as ever to protect our national resources.”

 “Each Earth Day and every day we must ensure that we commit ourselves to protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we all call home,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky. “A year ago, I was proud to stand with Representative Mark Pocan in introducing the Protect Our Public Lands Act that would institute the strongest federal fracking ban in the United States. We drafted this strong legislation to protect our public lands from fracking and to ensure that they are protected in the future. If we want to ensure that our planet is healthy for future generations then we must act now. Time is running out.” 

“In the year since POPLA was introduced, ever more evidence of the destructive power of fossil fuel extraction and burning has arisen. And our planet has gotten hotter,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The boldest, most immediate and impactful thing we can do now to stem climate change is banning fracking on all public lands. That’s what POPLA does, and that’s what we must focus on.”

“Thanks to the leadership of Congress Members Pocan and Schakowsky, the Protect our Public Lands Act has led the charge for the unprecedented movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground on America’s cherished public lands,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity.

"This Earth Day marks the one year anniversary of the introduction of Representatives Pocan and Schakowsky’s POPLA.  It reminds us of how quickly the years pass.  We must redouble our efforts to move this legislation now.  This is not a climate change — it is a climate emergency.” said Russell Greene of People Demanding Action/ Progressive Democrats of America.

“As we celebrate Earth Day, we acknowledge the urgent need to protect our public lands and waters from the dangers of climate disruption. The Protect our Public Lands Act is essential to ensure that these areas are managed to maintain a livable planet, not turned into energy sacrifice zones. Banning fracking on public lands is a critical step towards keeping destructive fossil fuels like natural gas in the ground.” -Marissa Knodel, Climate Campaigner Friends of the Earth.

"From contaminated water, to marred landscapes, to increased global warming pollution, fracking has been an environmental disaster. The best way to protect our health and climate from this dirty drilling is to ban it altogether, and this Earth Day, there’s no better place to start than with our treasured public lands," said Rachel Richardson, Director of Environment America's Stop Drilling Program.

“The Earth Day anniversary of the introduction of the Protect Our Public Lands Act highlights the increasingly urgent need to curb actions that further exacerbate climate change.  Businesses across the country want sustainable solutions to our energy challenges, and we will continue to work together to mobilize support for bold policy such as this that significantly reduces development of fossil fuels, “ said Hilary Baum of the American Sustainable Business Council.  “Businesses across the country are moving forward to renewable, non-polluting, safe energy sources, and our policy makers must heed the call of future generations to lay the groundwork for a sustainable economy.”

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