Biden’s Interior Department Announces Next Phase in Offshore Drilling Pause | Oceana USA

Biden’s Interior Department Announces Next Phase in Offshore Drilling Pause

Oceana calls on administration to permanently protect coasts from expanded offshore oil drilling



Press Release Date

Thursday, March 11, 2021
Location: WASHINGTON
Contact: Dustin Cranor, APR: dcranor@Oceana.org 954.348.1314

WASHINGTON – Today, following up on President Biden’s Jan. 27 executive order pausing all federal offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing, the Department of the Interior announced a process for obtaining perspectives from stakeholders, including a virtual forum on March 25, extensive outreach, and an interim report in early summer. 

Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins released this statement in response to the Interior Department’s announcement:

“We look forward to engaging in this process because the facts are on our side: Offshore drilling is dirty, dangerous, costly and fueling the climate crisis. We cannot afford to saddle our nation with additional climate pollution from offshore drilling, or the unrelenting threat of an oil disaster that could devastate our ocean and coastal communities.

President Biden took bold action to halt new offshore oil and gas leasing during his first days in office, and we look forward to working with his Interior Department to protect our coasts. Permanent protections from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling are good for our coasts, economy and climate.”

A recent Oceana analysis found that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas 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.

Additionally, the analysis found that ending new leasing will also safeguard the U.S. clean coast economy, which supports around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in GDP through activities like tourism, recreation and fishing.

According to the Interior Department, “over the last few years the oil and gas industry has stockpiled millions of acres of leases on public lands and waters,” including more than 12 million acres of public waters offshore. Of that area, more than 9.3 million acres (or 77%) are “non-producing.”

As of today, opposition and concern over offshore drilling activities nationwide includes:

  • Every East and West Coast governor, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Oregon and Washington
  • More than 390 local municipalities
  • Over 2,300 local, state and federal bipartisan officials
  • East and West Coast alliances representing over 55,000 businesses
  • Pacific, New England, South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils
  • More than 120 scientists  
  • More than 80 former military leaders 
  • Commercial and recreational fishing interests such as Southeastern Fisheries Association, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, Fisheries Survival Fund, Billfish Foundation and International Game Fish Association 
  • California Coastal Commission, California Fish and Game Commission and California State Lands Commission 
  • Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force and Florida Defense Support Task Force 

To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling activities, please click here.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit USA.Oceana.org to learn more.