Sec. Haaland Delivers Hard Truths to Big Oil

‘Too often, the extraction of resources has been rushed to meet the false urgency of political timetables’ — Watch Sec. Deb Haaland deliver some hard truths to Big Oil during a virtual forum. » Subscribe to NowThis Earth: » Sign up for our newsletter KnowThis to get the biggest stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox: For more climate crisis news, stories on environmental issues, and world news, subscribe to NowThis Earth. #DebHaaland #BigOil #Earth #Environment #Science #NowThis This video "Sec. Haaland Delivers Hard Truths to Big Oil", first appeared on

Video Transcript


DEB HAALAND: There is no doubt that oil, gas, and coal energy from our public lands and ocean has helped build our economy and power our nation. Fossil fuels will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. But too often, the extraction of resources has been rushed to meet the false urgency of political timetables, rather than with careful consideration for the impacts of current or future generations.


During the past four years, the Trump administration offered vast swaths of our public lands and waters for drilling, prioritizing fossil fuel development above all other uses on public lands and waters. The potential impacts to people, water, wildlife, and climate were deliberately ignored, something the courts continue to address. While some corporations profited, taxpayers were shortchanged, and some Americans' voices were not heard. An act now, think later approach to managing our public lands and waters has worked well-- not for the communities who live with the legacies of pollution, not for the coal and oil workers whose jobs and benefits are being cut, not for the local state-- local, and tribal governments who struggle to pay teachers and firefighters when the market drops, not for the tribal nations who are consulted too little and too late on projects that impact their communities for a very long time, and certainly not to the sustainability of our country and our planet.

In order to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our nation's economy, we must manage our lands and waters and resources, not just across fiscal years, but across generations. Now is the time for all of us to have a frank conversation about the future of our shared resources. I'll not pretend that this moment of reflection will be easy or that we have all the right answers. But I can promise you that I will listen to you, I'll be honest and transparent throughout this process.

The pause in new oil and gas lease sales gives us space to look at the federal fossil fuel programs that haven't been meaningfully examined or modernized in decades. I want to be clear that the pause on new oil and gas lease sales does not impact permitting and development on valid, existing leases. Further, oil and gas companies have amassed thousands of permits to drill on 38 million acres of public lands and oceans, an area larger than the state of Iowa.

Today, and over the coming weeks and months, we will look forward to hearing from you about our path forward. We're exploring ideas that leaders from both parties have brought forward to rethink how we manage energy and minerals on our public lands. We also-- we'll also continue to meet with governors on both sides of the aisle, hearing from Congress, and engaging in consultation with tribal nations.

President Biden's agenda demonstrates that America's public lands and oceans can and should be engines for local economies. We recognize that energy companies are innovating to tackle climate change and stay globally competitive. We know how to create more good-paying union jobs through clean energy production. We can put people to work restoring our lands and waters through a Civilian Climate Corps, and we can ensure that communities have the right tools and resources to support families that have been hurt by the oil and coal busts.

My ancestors made subtle but constant changes, century after century, to how they farmed and cared for the land because they knew it was their obligation to leave a sustainable planet to me and to all of us. We, too, must take a longer view. Right now, more than ever, we need hopeful, practical, and honest thinking about our public lands and waters. I look forward to working with you, including federal, state, local, and tribal leaders, to bring a measure of common purpose to how we manage America's public lands and waters and the oil, gas, and minerals they hold for all Americans.