President Obama and the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management are anticipated to release the 2017-2022 plan for offshore oil and gas leases, with possible measures to limit drilling for oil and gas in specific zones. This move would follow a recent decision to halt all new onshore coal leases until an environmental review of the coal leasing program can be completed, adding strength to the people’s call for leaders to keep fossil fuels in the ground, whether on land or sea.
Obama needs to boost the United States climate action commitment. For a real chance to stop climate change, we need to take bold action now and accelerate our transition from dirty fuel to clean, renewable energy. The single biggest action is to leave all fossil fuels in the ground on public lands and waters.
In addition to protecting the Arctic and Atlantic coastlines, is the critical need to limit drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, an area that has been devastated by oil companies’ negligence in the past, and continues to be plundered for profit. The Gulf states are still reeling from impacts of the largest offshore disaster in history, BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill, which killed 11 people and spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the fragile Gulf ecosystem. Residents in the Gulf continue to deal with health impacts and the economic fallout of fisheries still struggling to recover. The BP disaster shows how the industry is incapable of cleaning up its own catastrophes and should be barred from causing further harm.
Rainforest Action Network demands no sacrifice zones that unfairly impact low-income communities of color. No piecemeal change that abandons one zone in exchange for another. “Compromise on climate, on health, on equity, is tragedy for all – we need to halt fossil fuel leasing in our public waters and lands. Not only for climate change, but for communities who are suffering from the grip of Big Oil,” says Lindsey Allen, executive director of Rainforest Action Network.
We call on President Obama to heed the people’s demand across the Gulf, Arctic, Atlantic coasts and beyond to keep all fossil fuels in the ground.