It’s been a rough last few weeks for the “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” (KIITG) movement. As E&E News reported this morning, the White House, in a response to a petition from KIITG, refused to meet the group’s demands of ending all fossil fuel development of federal lands. As the White House put it,
“Even as we move full steam ahead towards cleaner energy, the United States will still need to use fossil fuels in the near term.”
This comes just after U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, pointed out that the group’s goal of ending fossil fuels is “naïve”:
“There are many, many miles driven every day. We don’t yet have solar-powered cars. It’s going to take a very long time before we can wean ourselves from fossil fuels, so I think that to keep it in the ground is naïve, to say we could shift to 100 percent renewables is naïve.” (emphasis added)
It’s almost as if the extreme behavior by KIITG activists at recent events like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) meetings in Utah and Ohio is an effort to distract folks from the fact that they are being strongly criticized, even by the White House itself.
Fortunately for Americans, while these protestors might make headlines periodically, they certainly do not represent the majority of the population that acknowledges natural gas is already a part of our country’s clean energy future.
BLM thus far has stuck to the science when addressing leasing on federal lands, and has taken steps to reduce the impacts these outside groups have on local bid auctions. In fact, in Utah this week, KIITG organizers claimed the BLM kept them from attending a meeting to discuss preserving Bonneville Salt Flats. In response, protesters held a climate rally that got so out of hand that protesters were physically removed from the building. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) issued a press release highlighting the photo below, as a badge of honor for their “naïve” agenda.
Of course this is not the first time we have watched the national and international groups behind the Keep It in the Ground campaign carry out their mission on a “local” level. For example, in addition to Utah, 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, Food & Water Watch, the Rainforest Action Network, and a number of other groups have deployed teams of activists to show up in Ohio and Colorado to oppose oil and gas development on public lands.
After staging a recent rowdy protest at the White House, CBD’s mascot, Frostpaw the Polar Bear, and teams of national ban-fracking activists, hopped on a plane (powered by fossil fuels) and flew to Colorado, where they proceeded to block the entrance to a federal government office’s parking lot, despite repeated requests from local law enforcement that they vacate the premises.
From Colorado, the activists hit the road again (using fossil fuels) and crisscrossed the United States to appear in Ohio, where they organized an effort that included another example of disrespecting U.S. federal employees.
To appear “local” in Ohio, the activists partnered with Buckeye Forest Council (an Ohio-based ban fracking group) to distribute shirts that were worn at the protest, as well as “Keep It in the Ground” flyers, which were made into paper airplanes and thrown at BLM employees. Similar to the recent episode in Utah, the protest was so out of control, that authorities were forced to shut down the meeting.
Landowners, elected officials, unions, economic development groups, and concerned citizens stood up against the Keep It in the Ground organizers, showing that these “naïve” and disrespectful acts by the movement are not supported by facts and do not represent the voice of the majority of the local people who live and work in these areas across the country. In fact, Ohioans made it clear they overwhelmingly support oil and gas development, utilizing both private and federally owned minerals. These sentiments were backed by the BLM recently as they found that leasing minerals in the Wayne National Forest would not significantly impact the environment.
False narratives and bogus campaigns, like KIITG is nothing more than a distraction to the fact that fracking is driving dramatic reductions in emissions. Producing oil and natural gas from federal lands has a role to play in that reality, which these protestors are simply being too “naïve” to accept.