Can BLM Get to Net-Zero Emissions for Fossil Fuel Development? A Proposed Road Map

50 Environmental Law Reporter News & Analysis __ (Sept. 1, 2020)

University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 378

29 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020 Last revised: 3 Sep 2020

See all articles by Jamie Pleune

Jamie Pleune

S.J. Quinney College of Law

John Ruple

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law

Nada Culver

National Audubon Society

Date Written: August 6, 2020

Abstract

Almost one quarter of all U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from fossil fuels extracted from public lands, and these resources are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM has a statutory duty set forth in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) to coordinate management of various resources “without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment.” Continuing to permit fossil fuel development without adhering to a carbon budget violates this statutory duty. This Article argues that the BLM must address climate change in its decisions. It also proposes a legal strategy for requiring that all new onshore oil and gas wells that tap federal resources, including those on existing leases, achieve net-zero GHG emissions (for upstream and downstream emissions) as a condition of operational approval. While the following discussion focuses on the oil and gas permitting process, the same principles could apply to other permitting decisions.

Suggested Citation

Pleune, Jamie and Ruple, John and Culver, Nada, Can BLM Get to Net-Zero Emissions for Fossil Fuel Development? A Proposed Road Map (August 6, 2020). 50 Environmental Law Reporter News & Analysis __ (Sept. 1, 2020), University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 378, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3668430

Jamie Pleune

S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

John Ruple (Contact Author)

University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-6545 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.utah.edu/research/stegner/

Nada Culver

National Audubon Society ( email )

Manhattan, NY
United States

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