Six years ago, millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster—a spill that is still affecting the Gulf and its wildlife.
Recently, federal officials unveiled a draft offshore drilling plan that will keep the Atlantic Ocean off limits to oil drilling rigs at least through 2022. This showed great leadership and marked a significant win for the Atlantic region. But the plan would still include offshore lease sales in the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is now collecting public comments around this newly unveiled draft plan and we need you to speak up now to stop more offshore drilling.
Opening the door to more offshore drilling takes us in the wrong direction on combating climate change and puts irreplaceable wildlife at risk of oil spills and other serious disturbance. The President should keep new leasing in these areas out of the five-year program. He should also take the opportunity to protect the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, which are still free of any offshore production, into the future by using his separate authority under the law to keep them permanently closed to new leasing.
For years, Earthjustice has been in court fighting risky drilling in the Arctic and now we have the opportunity to tell President Obama to keep this fragile region protected.
New offshore drilling would take us in the wrong direction on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading body of climate scientists, has concluded that the vast majority of known fossil fuel reserves, let alone fossil fuel from new areas, must remain undeveloped if we are to have even a fair shot at keeping warming in check. Extracting even more oil and gas to burn for fuel from new offshore areas would only result in releasing more greenhouse gas emissions, making it harder for us to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
Further, offshore drilling carries with it unacceptable risks to the ocean and its wildlife from noise and oil spills. For example, experts agree that we are particularly unprepared to address an oil spill in the Arctic. The region lacks infrastructure, like roads, deepwater ports, hotels and large airports. Cleanup crews would have to make their way into a sea that is either dark and completely frozen or filled with chunks of floating ice and subject to massive storms, making it nearly impossible to respond effectively to an oil spill.
Join us in asking President Obama to further his climate legacy and protect our oceans in two ways: keeping new offshore leasing in these areas out of the government’s final five-year leasing plan and using his statutory authority to keep the still undeveloped Arctic and Atlantic oceans permanently closed to oil leasing. Send in your comment today!
April 25, 2016 Action Alert ID# 366
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