A blueprint of the Department of the Interior’s five-year-plan has been leaked, and much like the four-year strategic plan released by the EPA two weeks ago, it doesn’t mention climate change once. It does, however, list “American energy dominance” as a top priority, which includes opening up and auctioning off more public lands to oil and gas drilling and development.
The document in more detail:
That’s according to a leaked draft, obtained by The Nation, of the Department of the Interior’s strategic vision: It states that the DOI is committed to achieving “American energy dominance” through the exploitation of “vast amounts” of untapped energy reserves on public lands. Alarmingly, the policy blueprint—a 50-page document—does not once mention climate change or climate science. That’s a clear departure from current policy: The previous plan, covering 2014–18, referred to climate change 46 times and explicitly stated that the department was committed to improving resilience in those communities most directly affected by global warming.
While disregarding climate change, the 2018–2022 strategic plan places a premium on facilitating oil and gas development. It calls for speeding up the processing of parcels nominated for oil and gas leasing on public lands. It establishes an Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting to facilitate on- and -offshore leasing, and aims to reduce the time it takes to green-light energy projects on Native land by 50 percent. The department is also seeking to speed up the application process for drilling permits, even though industry is currently sitting on thousands of approved permits. “It is bewildering that the agency would prioritize approving more permits—at the inevitable expense of your environmental responsibilities—when companies have plenty and appear to be simply stockpiling them,” wrote Representative Raúl Grijalva, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, in an April letter to the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management.