Fracking and the Future of the American West

Hitting Pause on New Leases for Fracking on Federal Lands

May 2021

Script

This video is part of our Kite & Key Shorts series—easy to understand...but hard to forget.

 

The government has paused new leases for fracking on federal lands.

Ok. But what are ‘federal lands’?

28% of the land in the United States is actually owned by the federal government.i

This land is not necessarily set aside for its natural beauty. Much of it is simply unsettled.ii

Most of us think of national parks…but they are only a tiny amount (13%) of federal landholdings.iii

Federal land is concentrated in the West. 46% of the region is controlled by Washington.iv

The federal government owns more than 60% of Alaska, Idaho, and Utah.v

It owns more than 80% of Nevada.vi

Restricting fracking is controversial because of the effects on the economies of states in the region.

Pausing new leases for fracking will cost these states an estimated $8 billion in tax revenue over the next five years—money that funds things like education, healthcare, and conservation.vii

The economic costs have to be weighed against the environmental benefits, but fracking has actually led to a reduction in carbon emissions.

Fracking produces natural gas, which often replaces coal as a power source.

When natural gas is substituted for coal, it cuts carbon emissions by nearly half.viii

The switch to natural gas has done more to reduce carbon emissions than either wind or solar power.ix

What would you do?

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  1. Nearly half of the American West is federally owned.
  2. Restricting fracking will cost Western states over $8 billion in just the next five years.
  3. Natural gas has done more to cut carbon emissions than wind or solar power.

Sources

Shownotes

SOUND: DAYS OF LOVE, MUDDYWEST 

FOOTAGE: UNSPLASH (MADHU SHESHARAM) // U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT) 

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