Rainforest Action Network Statement on Anticipated 2017-2022 Plan for Offshore Oil and Gas Leases

For immediate release, March 15, 2016

Contact: Virali Modi-Parekh, Rainforest Action Network, 510-747-8476
Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network, 415-203-9952

Press Release

Rainforest Action Network Statement on Anticipated 2017-2022 Plan for
Offshore Oil and Gas Leases

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 areas of the country. This move coincides with a people’s call to end oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters, and with an unprecedented gathering in New Orleans on March 23rd for the next large offshore oil and gas auction.

Given the U.S. pledge in Paris to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees, the country must leverage every opportunity possible to keep fossil fuels in the ground, including offshore. To meet this goal, the administration needs to start with protecting all federally-managed lands and waters from further fossil fuel exploration. In particular, it is critical 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. As Gulf residents gear up for a groundbreaking action next week in New Orleans, they are sending a message loud and clear to the administration that the Gulf cannot continue to serve as an energy sacrifice zone for the rest of the nation.

“Business as usual in the Gulf has to change. We call on President Obama to heed the people’s demand in the Gulf, and across all coasts to end destructive offshore leases and keep all fossil fuels in the ground,” says Amanda Starbuck, program director at Rainforest Action Network.

With this action, the Gulf of Mexico region is joining the global movement to phase out fossil fuels and a push to keep them in the ground. The public demonstrations at the climate talks in Paris sent a clear message that ordinary people are leading the movement to end use of fossil fuels and transition to clean energy. Over the last few months, people across the country have held similar protests in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington D.C. The next front for the movement is New Orleans, to ensure that Gulf fossil fuels – the eighth largest carbon reserve in the world – is kept in the ground, and to demand a new lease on life for Gulf communities.