Who Is Affected?
After rolling back Obama-era federal protections on some of the nation’s most pristine National Parks and Monuments in late 2017, the Trump Administration has continued to auction off swaths of the West in an attempt to attract new lease sales for fossil fuel drilling, fracking and mining. Although it’s true there are several oil-rich areas that will offer up substantial energy benefits and resources on government-leased territory, there are still many regions and states affected by these new policies that don’t see an upside for residents.
Take, for instance, the microsystems that supply beauty and life to the high deserts of eastern Nevada. According to Nevada hydrologist Tom Myers, Ph.D., the effects of drilling and fracking in the proposed lease areas in eastern Nevada containing sensitive groundwater basins “threatens the hydrogeology of the area, including regional springs and intermittent and perennial streams. The potential impacts include both contamination and depletion of flow.” Meyers published his findings in a report entitled “Review of Hydrogeologic Aspects of the December 2017 Oil and Gas Lease Sale, Ely District Office.”
With such critical ecosystems at risk, the implications of what could happen to the entire region’s fauna, flora and groundwater are seemingly obvious. However, in Trumpland there has been no apparent environmental concern whatsoever. Gas, gold and oil have taken precedence over food, health and water.
Which states are impacted?
We’ve seen federal downsizing of historic proportions in Utah, expanses of California and Nevada auctioned off, and plans for offshore oil drilling along the entire Pacific Coastline—and that’s just the beginning. As reported by Keith Schneider of the L.A. Times, “The Interior Department reported that auctions of federal drilling leases earned $316.2 million in revenue in 2017, about 61% higher than the $196.7 million that the government made from leasing in 2016.”
What types of eco-disasters are we facing?
The complications from groundwater contamination and depletion could be devastating to the region’s agriculture, fish and wildlife, ranching, recreation and, most importantly, its drinking supply, leaving behind a wide range of carcinogenic complications for future generations to come. And though some of the richest oil reserves lie just off the Pacific shoreline, are Trumponomics worth another disaster like BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010? Unfortunately, those who have made attempts to thwart federal lease auctions have been met with jail time or have been personally targeted by the government.
However, that doesn’t mean we stop the fight to protect our Earth. We must become the watchdogs of the government and those buying land leases to ensure the land remains protected, and take drastic measures to protect our environment—and our future. We must put pressure on politicians and corporations to divest from fossil fuels, endorse businesses with sustainable practices, strive every day to reduce our carbon footprint, and, most importantly, we must speak out. We only have one planet. Don’t let it become Planet Trump.