Senators Introduce “Keep it in the Ground Act of 2015,” a Bill Proposing to Ban Leases for Oil and Gas Drilling on Federal Property

Two U.S. Senators introduced a bill on November 4, 2015 that would have wide-reaching ramifications on mining, and domestic energy production on federal lands.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley introduced the Keep it in the Ground Act of 2015, which would effectively prohibit the federal government from leasing land for the purposes of producing certain fossil fuels. The Act would ban new leases for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans, as well as mining, and drilling for the production of coal, oil, tar sands, gas and oil shale. All nonproducing leases would also be terminated.

Supporters of the Act, which include the Sierra Club and other national environmental groups, claim that the Act will help combat climate change as the cessation of fossil fuel extraction and its subsequent use would help limit global temperature increases. Opponents of the Act argue that it would eliminate nearly half a million jobs, choke domestic energy production, and take away nearly $13 billion in revenue from the federal government.