Back in May, we warned that the Trump Administration had plans to vastly expand the areas open to offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans and the already embattled Gulf of Mexico. Now, the Interior Department is beginning the process of implementing this plan.
Within the Interior Department, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is in charge of developing five-year plans that establish what offshore areas will be offered for oil and gas drilling. Even though the Obama administration already approved a five-year plan for 2017-2022, BOEM is following President Trump’s Executive Order 13783 and is now creating a new plan. The administration wants to rewrite the plan to open up areas to drilling that were previously closed under the Obama administration. All of our coastal areas in the continental United States and Alaska are at risk.
Expanding the leasing of offshore oil and gas drilling sets our nation on the wrong course. It will lock us into more fossil fuel infrastructure and development for years to come, at a time when we need to rapidly shift toward renewable energy. Offshore drilling and the seismic airgun blasting that comes with it also has devastating impacts on ocean life, which is already under extreme pressure from climate change impacts, overfishing, and pollution. Coastal communities rely on safe, healthy oceans and these communities’ economies and ways of life could be devastated by another major oil spill. Allowing an expansion of offshore drilling puts the profits of fossil fuel companies before needs of the public.
This is why we’re asking you to weigh in on BOEM’s attempt to expand offshore drilling. BOEM is asking for comments on what areas should be included in its new five-year plan for offshore leasing. The deadline is August 17th, just three days from today, so please submit your comments ASAP and tell BOEM that you do not want to see any more leasing for offshore drilling. We have prepared a template to get you started:
Dear Ms. Hammerle:
Thank you for this opportunity to provide information concerning the preparation of the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program. I am writing to express my opposition to any expansion of offshore leasing for oil and gas drilling. Opening up more areas to offshore drilling is not in the public interest, as it would have devastating impacts on our coastal communities and climate.
Expanding leasing for offshore oil and gas drilling sets us on the wrong course for our economy, our public health, and our environment. Opening more areas to leasing means that, for years to come, companies will be building out drilling infrastructure, locking us into decades of increasing fossil fuel dependence. There is no evidence that we need offshore oil and gas for energy independence or a strong economy – rather, expanding offshore drilling puts the economies of thousands of coastal communities at risk.
Offshore drilling companies have demonstrated time and time again that there is no safe way to drill for oil and gas in a marine environment. For example, while the Gulf of Mexico is trying to recover from the massive BP oil spill, it continues to be plagued by constant small-scale oil spills, including the Taylor Energy oil leak that has been ongoing since 2004 and the company claims simply cannot be stopped. How can the federal government consider allowing more offshore drilling when we already know that it cannot be done safely?
Offshore drilling and the seismic airgun blasting that comes with it also has devastating impacts on ocean life, which is already under extreme pressure from climate change impacts, overfishing, and pollution. Coastal communities rely on safe, healthy oceans, and these communities’ economies and ways of life could be wiped out by another major oil spill.
Insert your own personal message on:
Expanding offshore drilling puts the profits of fossil fuel companies before needs and concerns of the vast majority of the public. Our public resources should not be managed in a way that puts the profits of a few before the wellbeing of millions of Americans. Therefore, I urge you to not schedule any new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, or in any national marine sanctuary or marine national monument.
Thank you for considering my comments.
Want to do more? Your members of Congress need to hear from you too. Call today and remind them that you oppose expanding offshore leasing for oil and gas drilling!