Net zero emissions from public lands and waters

BLM Oregon

Ensuring that our shared lands and waters are pollution-free

Climate change is one of the most universal environmental and social justice issues of our generation. As countries around the world ramp up efforts to tackle the problem, here in the United States, our federal public lands and waters provide an immediate opportunity where the federal government to take action.  

Our shared lands and waters have become drilling grounds for the fossil fuel industry. This type of development fuels climate change, degrades the land, endangers wildlife and compromises our health and well-being, and disproportionately so in Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, and working-class communities of all backgrounds. But it doesn’t have to be this way.  

By taking bold action now, we can ensure that public lands and waters become a net-zero source of emissions by 2030—a major step toward ultimately making them pollution-free. 

To this end, we seek to end all fossil fuel development on federal lands and waters by 2050 and work to boost responsible renewable energy developments. Our public lands can and should be part of the climate solution for the benefit of all people.  

Why this issue matters

America's public lands and waters have a key role to play in tackling the climate and extinction crises. With less fossil fuel development and more responsible renewable energy projects, they can become part of the solution, instead of the problem.

24% of total U.S. climate emissions
That's how much the development of oil, gas and coal on public lands contributes to U.S. climate change emissions.
461 million acres
The amount of public land and waters that the federal government has offered for the development of oil and gas between January 2017 and January 2020—a composite area bigger than the state of Alaska.
700,000 acres
The area of public lands identified by the Bureau of Land Management as having high potential for wind, solar and geothermal energy – enough to support hundreds of projects.

What we're doing

  1. Reducing fossil fuel emissions from public lands

    We work with public leaders to decrease the amount of oil, gas and coal development that occurs on public lands and make our shared lands and waters are a net zero source of emissions by 2030. 

  2. Developing responsible renewable energy on public lands

    We promote the development of renewable energy on public lands in places that have high energy potential and low impact on wildlands and wildlife. 

  3. Protecting our remaining forests

    We protect forests that function as major carbon sinks, absorbing and trapping greenhouse gases that are warming our planet.

  4. Promoting environmental and economic justice

    We work with partners to ensure the transition to pollution-free public lands involves and invests in communities that depend on the work and revenue from fossil fuel production and those most impacted by fossil fuel pollution.