Bill introduced in the House to keep fossil fuels, including coal, in the ground

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., on Feb. 11 introduced the “Keep it in the Ground Act,” which would reduce carbon emissions by permanently barring new fossil fuel leases on all federal public lands and in federal waters.

“Our nation’s capacity to transition towards clean energy sources is expanding at a record pace,” said Huffman. “However, there is still much to be done to break our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels. Our oceans and our public lands – including the fossil fuel deposits beneath them – belong to the American people, not to the oil and gas industry, and it’s time that the law reflects that fact.”

“Thanks to Representative Huffman’s leadership, we have a concrete plan to help meet the climate goals set in Paris and accelerate our transition onto clean, renewable energy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “We should seize this opportunity, and lead the world in the fight against climate disruption by keeping dirty fuels where they belong – in the ground.”

This legislation would:

  • Stop new leases and end non-producing leases for coal, oil, gas, oil shale and tar sands on all federal lands.
  • Stop new leases and end non-producing leases for offshore drilling in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico.
  • Prohibit offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic.

This legislation is co-sponsored by various House members. The Senate version of the “Keep it in the Ground Act” was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., in November 2015. Neither bill is considered likely to see any forward movement in the GOP-controlled House and Senate.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.