New Greenhouse Gas rules help protect Wilderness

Dec 18, 2014

The White House

National Science Foundation
New guidance from the White House to factor climate impacts of development on public lands will help the federal government manage wild lands more responsibly, according to The Wilderness Society.

The new guidance requires analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has to include effects on climate change – including resource extraction and timber harvesting on federal lands.

“As we celebrate the protection of nearly a quarter million new acres of Wilderness recently passed by Congress, we also need to recognize that without initiatives like these, climate change will continue to have an impact on American wilderness,” said Bob Ekey, senior director of the Energy campaign for The Wilderness Society. “Knowing what the climate impact from mining, drilling, and logging federal lands will be should help guide decision makers toward uses of public lands that help fight, not contribute to, climate change.”

While the guidance would not mandate that activities like drilling and timber harvest be rejected, it would show full costs of those activities in terms of climate change, something that has been absent from prior analyses.

“Climate change doesn’t recognize park and wilderness borders – the effects will be felt across the nation in forests, sagebrush seas, suburbs, and cities,” said Ekey.