On November 23, the Trump Administration discreetly published a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that found about one-quarter of all U.S. carbon emissions come from fossil fuel extraction operations on public lands. The report measured national carbon emissions between 2005 and 2014 and calculated that 23.7 percent of those emissions were generated on public lands by the mining, drilling, refining, and transporting of fossil fuels. Coal-fired power plants on public lands were responsible for 60 percent of those emissions. Out of the 28 states (plus offshore regions in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific) where these activities took place, 57.7 percent came from Wyoming alone, with the Gulf ranking second at 19 percent. Overall, public lands also contributed 7.3 percent of the country’s methane emissions and 1.5 percent of its nitrous oxide. The administration has sought to roll back federal methane emission regulations while promoting the development of natural resources on federally held lands, particularly coal mining.
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