Bemidji, MN – Before dawn on Saturday morning, December 2nd, the U.S. Senate passed a monumental tax overhaul with no Democratic support that overwhelmingly benefits corporations and the top 1%. The bill, written by a small panel of Republicans, behind closed doors was rushed to a vote, bypassing regular order that would have included hearings and committee meetings with both parties participating. In fact, the bill has ignited an outcry from Democrats, calling this process of the bill, “Washington at it’s worst”.
While the focus of criticism is centered on how the bill will not benefit a majority of taxpayers in the long term, there are immediate and potentially dire impacts within this bill for Indigenous Peoples that is being overlooked in the media. Two provisions inserted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) direct Sec. Zinke to approve at least two lease sales for drilling. Each would consist of no fewer than 400,000 acres and 2,000 acres (of the 800,000 total acres), known as 1002 Area, set aside for wells and support facilities within ANWR’s 1.5 million-acre coastal plain.
New York –A false solution to climate change known as REDD+ causes conflict and is a new form of colonialism and must be immediately canceled, Indigenous Peoples denounced at the United Nations. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) is a carbon offset mechanism that uses Nature as a sponge for greenhouse gas pollution instead of cutting emissions at source. “The sacred air we breathe is being sold to the highest bidder. We implore the UN to have compassion for humanity and Mother Earth by immediately canceling carbon trading, carbon offsets, and REDD+ projects in or near Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories” said Calfin Lafkenche of the Mapuche Nation in Chile.
WASHINGTON— Ending new fossil fuel leasing on lands and offshore areas controlled by the U.S. government would keep up to 450 billion tons of greenhouse gases from polluting the atmosphere, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by EcoShift on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth released today.
The analysis, The Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions of U.S. Federal Fossil Fuels, models the life-cycle greenhouse gas pollution that would result from developing federally-controlled coal, oil shale, natural gas, crude oil and tar sands on public lands and offshore ocean areas under government control.
Allowing these publicly owned fossil fuels to be developed would cripple the U.S.’ ability to meet its obligations to avert the worst effects of the global climate crisis, the report finds.