Letter to U.S. Office of Management and Budget Requesting Moratorium on Permitting, Rulemakings During COVID-19

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On behalf of our members and communities impacted by oil, gas, and mining across the United States, we write to urge all agencies, including independent agencies, to place a moratorium on all new permitting and rulemakings, and extend all existing public comment periods until at least 60 days after the national emergency is lifted. We also urge you to reschedule all public hearings until it is safe for the public to gather.

All people have a right to participate in our government’s decisions about oil, gas, mining, and related infrastructure affecting our public lands, public health and environment. In the midst of a global pandemic, our government urges us to stay at home and maintain social distance. During this difficult time, with many people facing daily health crises in their own communities, our government should not march ahead with business as usual.

Many oil, gas, and mining facilities disproportionately impact rural and systematically oppressed communities who already face many obstacles to their meaningful participation in public comment and permitting processes. The global pandemic also disproportionately impacts these types of communities. Stay at home orders in place across the country may limit access to internet, mail, phone service, or travel, making it difficult for communities to meaningfully engage in public comment periods, and the COVID-19 pandemic makes it unsafe to gather to participate in public hearings.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has created unanticipated hardships on us all. Our government should not respond to one health crisis by making decisions that potentially increase other health and environmental threats—especially when the public that our government ostensibly serves cannot adequately participate in the decision-making process. Instead, the government should focus on protecting all people during this difficult time.

Out of respect for public safety, for public lands, and for our democracy, the federal government should immediately hold open all public comment periods for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews until 60 days after the national emergency is lifted, and similarly pause all permitting, leasing, and rulemaking for oil, gas, mining, and its infrastructure.

Sincerely,

Allegheny County Clean Air Now
Arizona Mining Reform Coalition
Athens County’s Future Action Network
Beyond Plastics
Black Hills Clean Water Alliance
Black Hills Clean Water Alliance
Boise Chapter of Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Breathe Easy Susquehanna County
Breathe Project
California Coastal Protection Network
Catskill Mountainkeeper
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for International Environmental Law
Central Western PA Climate Reality Chapter
Clean Water Action
Climate Hawks Vote
Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes
Coastal Alliance to Protect our Environment
Communities First–Sewickley Valley
Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
Copper Country Alliance
Defenders of Wildlife
Dominican Sisters of Houston
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Peace and Justice Office
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Justice Committee
Don’t Waste Michigan
Earthjustice
Earthworks
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Working Group
Extinction Rebellion Kentucky
First Peoples Worldwide
FracTracker Alliance
Franciscan Sisters of the Poor
FreshWater Accountability Project
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Inyo
Friends of the Land of Keweenaw, FOLK
Gas Free Seneca
Gila Resources Information Project
Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, Inc.
Greenpeace US
Healthy Gulf
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC
Hudson River Sloop
Clearwater, Inc.
Information Network for Responsible Mining
LEAD Agency, Inc.
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
League of Conservation Voters
LITE Initiatives
Malach Consulting
Mercy Ecology
Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin
Mono Lake Committee
Mountain Watershed Association
Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness • Northern California Recycling Association
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Oil Change International
Osprey Orielle Lake
Peak Plastic Foundation
Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania
Plastic Oceans International
Plastic Pollution Coalition
Protect PT (Penn-Trafford)
River Guardian Foundation
Rock Creek Alliance
Save Our Cabinets
Save Our Shores
Save Our St Vrain Valley
Save the South Fork SalmonSeneca Lake Guardian
Sierra Club
Silver Valley Community Resource Center
Sisters of St. Joseph Brentwood NY Office of Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation
Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, PA
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project
Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, LA Province
Texas Campaign for the Environment
The 5 Gyres Institute
The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Reasearch, and Education
The Lands Council
The Last Plastic Straw
The Story of Stuff Project
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition
WaterLegacy
Weber Sustainability Consulting
Western Watersheds Project
WildEarth Guardians
Zero Waste USA
Zero Waste Youth USA