Over 100 U.S. Elected Officials Demand President Biden Prevent New Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing  - Oceana USA

Over 100 U.S. Elected Officials Demand President Biden Prevent New Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing 

104 local elected officials from 15 states urge the government to stop all new federal oil and gas leasing

Press Release Date: July 25, 2023

Location: Washington, D.C.


Cory Gunkel, Megan Jordan | email: cgunkel@oceana.org, mjordan@oceana.org | tel: Cory Gunkel, 202.868.4061

More than 100 elected officials from across the country signed a letter released today urging President Biden to prevent new offshore drilling leases in his upcoming National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2023-2028. Also known as the Five-Year Plan, this program — which is expected to be released in September — determines where the federal government will sell leases for offshore drilling over the next half-decade. President Biden previously committed to no new leasing in 2020.  

The bipartisan letter was signed by 104 elected officials in the United States and includes mayors, city council members, and state representatives. Twenty-eight mayors and 12 state legislators from 15 states signed the letter. Citing concerns over increased pollution, rising greenhouse gas emissions, and harmful economic repercussions, the letter asks the president to prevent any new oil and gas drilling in federal waters.  

“We must immediately stop the expansion of dirty and dangerous offshore drilling to protect our oceans, coastal economies, and frontline communities who bear the brunt of its disastrous impact,” said Oceana Acting Campaign Director Michael Messmer. “It’s heartening to see bipartisan elected officials from coastal communities and beyond use their voices to advocate for this important goal. President Biden must uphold his promise to prevent new offshore drilling.” 

In addition to signing the letter, three cities in Florida passed resolutions asking President Biden to keep his promise to prevent new leases. 

“Our nation’s oldest city likely wouldn’t be thriving over the history of human habitation if it weren’t for all that our oceans provide, such as habitat for the species we love, recreational opportunities, and fisheries,” said St. Augustine Commissioner Barbara Blonder, who both signed the letter and helped spearhead the unanimous passing of a new resolution in her city. “None of these essential provisions are compatible with offshore oil drilling.” 

A 2021 analysis by Oceana found that protecting all unleased federal waters from offshore drilling in the United States could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of taking every car in the nation off the road for 15 years. Ending new leasing could also prevent more than $720 billion in damage to people, property, and the environment. 

“Climate change is threatening our oceans, our coasts, and our planet, and new leasing for offshore drilling would lock in decades of climate-harming carbon emissions,” the letter states. “Preventing new dirty and dangerous offshore drilling in [the] final Five-Year Plan will protect coastal communities from devastating pollution, support healthy marine ecosystems, safeguard ocean wildlife, and encourage a clean energy future. President Biden must heed this call and prevent any new drilling.” 

A recent Oceana report found that the oil industry currently holds more than 2,000 leases for offshore drilling, totaling more than 11 million acres of ocean. However, 75% of those acres, totaling 8 million (more than six times the size of Delaware), are currently unused. 

For more information about Oceana’s efforts to stop the expansion of offshore drilling, please click here.