Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has promised, in a column on Medium, to ban all fossil fuel extractions on all federal lands and coastal waters. This move will no doubt generate some name recognition that may separate Warren from other democrat candidates seeking to win the 2020 Democrat Party primaries.
The federal land in question constitutes 25 percent of total land in the United States, Warren claims in her post, and is worthy of protection. “The Trump administration is busy selling off our public lands to the oil, gas and coal industries for pennies on the dollar—expanding fossil fuel extraction that destroys pristine sites across the country while pouring an accelerant on our climate crisis” Warren’s post reads.
“That’s why on my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling—a total moratorium on fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands.”
This promise is noteworthy considering that a court ruled earlier this month that while a sitting U.S. president has the authority to protect lands from exploring and drilling activities, they do not have the authority to reinstate those lands with an executive order. Rather, lifting a ban would require congressional approval, according to the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska judge Sharon L. Gleason in her ruling. That ruling will likely be appealed and could drag on for years to come.
Warren’s stance on fossil fuels is in stark contrast to the United States under President Donald Trump, which saw a flurry of oil and gas drilling permits issued in 2018.
Warren’s position is not only drastically different than President Trump’s position on fossil fuels, but it’s a step or two further than the rest of her presidential hopeful peers—most of whom support the Green New Deal but stop shy of promoting a full-scale ban.