Enviro Groups, Scientists, Business Owners, and Frontline Communities Call on President Biden to End New Leasing for Offshore Drilling
Groups Deliver Over 760,000 Petitions, Rally to Show Support for End to New Oil and Gas Leasing
Press Release Date: October 6, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Today, a broad and diverse coalition of environmental groups, scientists, business leaders, and frontline communities gathered outside the White House to urge President Biden to end new leasing for offshore drilling as part of his National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2023 to 2028.
As part of the activities, timed to the end of the 90-day public comment period on the proposed program, the groups delivered more than 760,000 petitions calling on the president to uphold his campaign promise to end new leasing for offshore oil and gas drilling. Oceana also secured bike billboard ads, which have been visible throughout the week surrounding the White House complex and Department of the Interior.
“We must stop the expansion of offshore drilling for our oceans, climate, coastal economies, and frontline communities,” says Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins. “Today’s event highlights the broad base of support for President Biden to deliver on his campaign promise to end new leasing for offshore drilling. This diverse coalition is here to show the Biden administration that we support an end to new leasing in the five-year plan. The best time to end the vicious cycle of ‘drill, spill, repeat’ has long passed, but Biden can finally close this chapter and put us on a path to a sustainable climate future.”
Business organizations representing over 60,000 coastal businesses and entrepreneurs joined in the call to action, sending a letter to the Biden administration stating that, “Unfortunately, we know from experience that where they drill, they spill. When a spill occurs, it is not the oil industry that loses out the most, it is the small businesses and the everyday working people—hospitality workers, local business owners, and commercial fishermen—who feel the economic damage from a ravaged coastal community.”
More than 100 scientists also sent a letter today to President Biden and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) calling for an end to new leasing for offshore drilling, citing concerns over climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions, risks of oil spills, and chronic local pollution.
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.”
And more than 60 environmental groups from across the nation, including local groups in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, wrote to President Biden, calling for an end to new offshore drilling as part of his efforts to address the growing climate crisis. In the letter, the groups wrote: “President Biden, before you is a perfect opportunity to continue to bring the management of our public resources into alignment with your climate goals. By finalizing the next Five-Year Program with no new leasing, you can protect our ocean wildlife, coastal communities, and climate from unnecessary harm. We stand ready to support and assist your administration in this effort.”
An analysis by Oceana found that permanent offshore drilling protections for all unleased federal waters could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is equivalent to taking every car in the United States off the road for the next 15 years. The analysis also found that permanent protections in all unleased federal waters could prevent more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment.