Will President Obama’s climate legacy be determined by his rhetoric on climate change, a historic Agreement made in Paris last year, and the Clean Power Plan? Or will he be remembered by the BP explosion and largest oil spill in history, homes and lives lost through catastrophic flooding, and the largely unregulated fracking boom?
Since he took office, President Obama has leased out millions of acres of public lands onshore and offshore to dirty energy companies – lands that are supposed to be held in trust for the American people. This has occurred through fossil fuel lease auctions around the country, where parcels of ocean and wilderness are sold for as low as $1.50 an acre, to the highest bidder. What’s worse, the President can’t tout any climate credentials when, instead of reducing offshore leasing in the wake of the BP Disaster, he has offered a similar amount of offshore acres to the oil and gas industry as President George W. Bush.
Gulf communities and ecosystems along the Gulf of Mexico endure the impacts of pollution: well explosions, oil spills, rising sea levels, and most recently, severe climate-change-related flooding. But the Administration continues to sell off Gulf leases to supermajor oil and gas companies—giant well-resourced corporations—that profit at the expense of these coastal communities and taxpayers.
In this last 100 days of the Obama Administration, the President still has time to tip the balance in favor of climate stability by ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters. By canceling lease auctions for fossil fuel extraction, President Obama can lock in fully one half of all future potential U.S. climate pollution. This action would send a crucial signal to corporate polluters and nations around the world that transitioning to a clean energy economy must happen at a larger and faster scale.
In these final days and months, join us in sending a message to President Obama. Rainforest Action Network and national allies will be keeping the pressure on until the final hours, like we just did at President Obama’s keynote speech in Columbus:
He could do right by the communities suffering from health and other impacts of climate change, choose the planet over profit and give future generations a fighting chance. His actions could put the US and the world on a path to climate stability. But he has to do it now, before it’s too late.