Last week, more than 100 scientists sent a letter to President Biden and Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland calling for an end to new leasing for offshore drilling, citing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions, risks of oil spills, and chronic local pollution.
The letter came in response to the Biden-Harris administration’s proposal for the future of offshore drilling lease sales in federal waters over the next five years, from 2023-2028. The proposal leaves the door open to continued leasing for dirty and dangerous drilling and spilling.
The scientists wrote: “We ask you to release a final program with no scheduled offshore oil and gas drilling lease sales. Our health and planet depend on a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy, and we should not be investing in new fossil fuel extraction. Offshore drilling is a threat to marine life and coastal economies that rely on a vibrant ocean.”
A policy to protect all unleased federal waters from offshore drilling in the United States could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment. The climate crisis is here and we cannot afford more drilling and its associated climate pollution.
Scientists who signed the letter include climate change scientists, oil spill experts, and marine biologists from across the country. We hope this plea to protect our coast is heard and that the president issues a final five-year offshore oil drilling program with no new leases.
Our health and planet depend on a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy, and we should not be investing in new fossil fuel extraction. We must act now to make our voices heard.