American Bird Conservancy • Archaeology Southwest • Athens County’s Future Action Network • Basin and Range Watch • Black Hills Clean Water Alliance • Born Free USA • Buckeye Environmental Network • Center for Biological Diversity • Christian Council of Delmara • Clean Water Action • Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks • Conservation Council for Hawaii • Conservation Lands Foundation • Conserve Southwest Utah • Cultural Landscapes • Defenders of Wildlife • Desert Tortoise Council • Earthworks • Elders Rising • Endangered Habitats League • Endangered Small Animal Conservation Fund • Endangered Species Coalition • Environment Texas • Environmental LLC • Food & Water Action • Friends of Blackwater • Friends of Rose Creek • Friends of Sloan Canyon • Friends of the Earth • Friends of the Inyo • Friends of the Sonoran Desert • Gaviota Coast Conservancy • Gila Resources Information Project • Grand Canyon Trust • Grand Staircase Escalante Partners • Great Basin Water Network • Great Old Broads • Great Salt Lake Audubon • Greater Hells Canyon Council • Green River Action Network • Greenpeace USA • Healthy Gulf • Heartwood • High Country Conservation Advocates • International Fund for Animal Welfare • International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute • Living Rivers • Living Rivers • Los Padres Forest Watch • Malach Consulting • Mountain Lion Foundation • Native Plant Conservation Campaign • Nevada Conservation League • Northern Alaska Environmental Center • NY4WHALES • Oceanic Preservation Society • Progressive Alliance of Nevada • Public Citizen • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility • Quite Use Coalition • RESTORE: The North Woods • Rocky Mountain Wild • Rural Utah Project • San Juan Citizens Alliance • Save Our Sky Blue Waters • Save Wolves Now Network • Sheep Mountain Alliance • Sierra Club • Sierra Club Oakland • Southeast Alaska Conservation Council • Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance • Taxpayer Association of Kane County • The Mountain Pact • Turtle Island Restoration Network • Turtle Island Restoration Network • Unexpected Wildlife Refuge • Uplift • Uranium Watch • Utah Audubon Council • Utah Native Plant Society • Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment • Utah Tar Sands Resistance • Waterkeeper Alliance • Western Colorado Alliance • Western Values Project • Western Watersheds Project • Western Watersheds Project • Wild Zone Conservation League • WildEarth Guardians • Wilderness Workshop •

March 19, 2020 The Honorable David Bernhardt Secretary, Department of the Interior 1849 C Street, N.W Washington, DC 20240 Re: Request for the suspension of all public comment periods in recognition of the National Health Emergency Dear Secretary Bernhardt, The undersigned organizations, representing millions of members and supporters, respectfully request that the Department of the Interior suspend major policy changes, changes to regulations, oil and gas lease sales and public comment periods related to those for the immediate future. President Donald J. Trump has declared a “national health emergency” to address the COVID 19 virus. The nation’s attention is focused on keeping its families healthy and safe. Many schools are closed, which means parents are focused on childcare. Workplace activities have been disrupted, making it difficult for many people to focus on business-as-usual activities. Many libraries are closed which means citizens without computers cannot review environmental assessment documents. Commenting on Interior Department proposals for major policy changes, changes to regulations, and oil and gas leases requires concerted focused attention and resources that many people who normally engage in these processes simply do not have right now. Additionally, several field trips and in-person meetings are scheduled that are in conflict with the president’s request to limit public gatherings. A few of the comment periods in process include:
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Take of Migratory Birds that proposes to redefine the scope of the Migratory Treaty Bird Act;
  • Bureau of Land Management SEISs for Greater Sage Grouse;
  • Ongoing oil and gas leases and permits;
  • Bureau of Land Management Draft Farmington Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement
  • California Desert District Advisory Council Field Trips;
  • Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment for Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Wild Horse Management, BLM Wyoming field offices;
  • Categorical Exclusion for Pinyon Pine-Juniper Removal;
  • Revised proposed critical habitat for the western distinct population segment of the yellow-billed cuckoo
We respectfully request that the Department of the Interior suspend comment periods and oil and gas lease sales during the time of this global pandemic. Sincerely, American Bird Conservancy Archaeology Southwest Athens County’s Future Action Network Basin and Range Watch Black Hills Clean Water Alliance Born Free USA Buckeye Environmental Network Center for Biological Diversity Christian Council of Delmara Clean Water Action Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks Conservation Council for Hawaii Conservation Lands Foundation Conserve Southwest Utah Cultural Landscapes Defenders of Wildlife Desert Tortoise Council Earthworks Elders Rising Endangered Habitats League Endangered Small Animal Conservation Fund Endangered Species Coalition Environment Texas Environmental LLC Food & Water Action Friends of Blackwater Friends of Rose Creek Friends of Sloan Canyon Friends of the Earth Friends of the Inyo Friends of the Sonoran Desert Gaviota Coast Conservancy Gila Resources Information Project Grand Canyon Trust Grand Staircase Escalante Partners Great Basin Water Network Great Old Broads Great Salt Lake Audubon Greater Hells Canyon Council Green River Action Network Greenpeace USA Healthy Gulf Heartwood High Country Conservation Advocates International Fund for Animal Welfare International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute Living Rivers Los Padres Forest Watch Malach Consulting Mountain Lion Foundation Native Plant Conservation Campaign Nevada Conservation League Northern Alaska Environmental Center NY4WHALES Oceanic Preservation Society Progressive Alliance of Nevada Public Citizen Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Quite Use Coalition RESTORE: The North Woods Rocky Mountain Wild Rural Utah Project San Juan Citizens Alliance Save Our Sky Blue Waters Save Wolves Now Network Sheep Mountain Alliance Sierra Club Sierra Club Oakland Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Taxpayer Association of Kane County The Mountain Pact Turtle Island Restoration Network Unexpected Wildlife Refuge Uplift Uranium Watch Utah Audubon Council Utah Native Plant Society Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment Utah Tar Sands Resistance Waterkeeper Alliance Western Colorado Alliance Western Values Project Western Watersheds Project Wild Zone Conservation League WildEarth Guardians Wilderness Workshop