President Biden’s Five-Year Plan Finalized, Continues Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico  - Oceana USA

President Biden’s Five-Year Plan Finalized, Continues Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico 

Final plan includes three proposed lease sales and does not expand the footprint of existing drilling

Press Release Date: December 15, 2023

Location: Washington, D.C.

Contact:

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

The Department of Interior finalized President Biden’s Five-Year Plan for offshore oil and gas leasing today following the conclusion of a Congressional review period. The plan continues leasing in the Gulf of Mexico but does not expand leasing into new waters. The first lease sale in the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2024-2029 is scheduled to be held in 2025, with two more to follow in 2027 and 2029, respectively. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, signed off on the plan after the review period.  

Oceana Vice President for the United States, Beth Lowell, called on the Biden administration to permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling after the announcement:   

“Offshore oil and gas drilling is not only dirty and dangerous, but it also supercharges the existing climate crisis. This Five-Year Plan started with President Trump proposing to open nearly all U.S. waters to offshore oil drilling and ends with President Biden’s final plan that is the smallest to date. The footprint of offshore drilling was not expanded, but the dangerous cycle of drilling and spilling must end.  

While the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico were not included in this program, these areas will be at risk again when it is time for a new plan. President Biden can permanently protect areas in the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico from the threats of future offshore drilling — expanding upon President Trump’s 10-year withdrawal of federal waters from the coast of North Carolina through the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and President Biden’s earlier protections in the Beaufort Sea this year. Protecting our coasts from offshore oil and gas drilling will safeguard the communities, people, and businesses that rely on a healthy ocean. Forever shielding these areas from the devastation of oil and gas drilling would be an admirable, tangible, and necessary step forward in our climb toward a clean energy future while protecting our oceans and coasts.” 

The Five-Year Plan process began in 2018 under President Trump, who proposed 47 offshore drilling lease sales. The plan was cut down to 11 proposed sales in 2022 under President Biden, who ultimately trimmed it down to three lease sales in the final program – the lowest number of leases ever offered in a Five-Year Plan.  

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 have also prevented more than $720 billion in damage to people, property, and the environment. The three new approved leases would add to the more than 2,000 leases the oil industry already holds, according to a recent Oceana report. That totals more than 11 million acres of ocean, with 75% of those acres currently sitting unused.   

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling in the United States, please click here.