Democrats introduce anti-drilling bill in House

In this March 25, 2014 photo, a worker oils a pump during a hydraulic fracturing operation at an Encana Corp. well pad near Mead, Colo. The first experimental use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and more than 1 million U.S. oil and oil wells have been fracked since, according to the American Petroleum Institute. The National Petroleum Council estimates that up to 80 percent of natural oil wells drilled in the next decade will require hydraulic fracturing. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

A small group of Congressional Democrats has introduced legislation halting the leasing of federal lands for extracting oil, natural gas and coal.

Called the “keep it in the ground act” act, the bill led by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-California, would apply to all federal lands and waters, including the Gulf of Mexico.

It follows on from legislation introduced in November by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, with support from presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont.

So far, that bill has languished in the Republican-led Senate. And with a Republic majority also in the House, Thursday’s bill is likely to face a similar fate.

Nonetheless, environmentalists, who have pushed the White House to get tougher on fossil fuels, cheered the move Thursday.

“Anyone who does the math of climate change knows we need to keep most fossil fuel underground,” Bill McKibben, co-founder of, said in a statement.