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Media Contact:

Justin Wasser, jwasser@earthworks.org, 202.753.7016

Background: Today, the Department of Interior announced plans to hold lease sales totaling over 260,000 acres of public lands across New Mexico and Wyoming in the second quarter of 2023 in compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Recent Congressional action on the climate crisis is historic, and investment provisions for the clean energy transition are necessary, but the IRA did not enact the bold, broad, national action needed to avert a climate catastrophe. The package included provisions that expand harmful extraction that would undermine climate goals and the need for a swift, just, and equitable energy transition. Avoiding climate disaster requires us to stop all new oil and gas drilling on U.S. lands and waters now and begin phasing existing extraction out entirely. 

Statement by Earthworks New Mexico Field Advocate Charlie Barrett:

“More fossil fuel extraction will worsen the climate crisis and increase harm to the health, land, air and water of frontline communities. Existing extraction is already recklessly polluting in every oil and gas field where we investigate. 

“President Biden has the authority right now to demand his EPA enact the strongest rules possible to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities. He also has the authority to declare a climate emergency to stop permitting oil and gas infrastructure on public lands. Climate leadership requires action aligned with science and prioritizing people over business as usual.”


  • Earthworks documented optical gas images of oil and gas pollution in New Mexico from September 2022 (here & here). Please contact Earthworks if you would like to request a GIF or still of oil and gas pollution OGI.