This afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak out against new leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The opportunity came in response to the release of President Biden’s 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan – which schedules a lease sale in 2025, 2027, and 2029 – and the subsequent environmental impact analysis.
You can read my 3-minute comment below:
“Hello, my name is Ian Giancarlo and I’m an oceans advocate with Environment America, an environmental advocacy group with one mission: creating a healthier, greener world.
“Thank you for allowing me the opportunity today to speak up for our oceans and oppose any new lease sales in our nation’s waters.
“As a kid, I visited the white-sand beaches of Florida. I remember building sand castles with my cousins using the powder-like sand and running it through my hands, admiring how pristine it looked. When the Sun would set, it almost reflected off the beach because of the brilliant white sand. The Gulf is truly an amazing place with amazing beaches. As Americans, we all deserve the right to have a similar experience, clean beaches free from oil pollution.
“Allowing more lease sales offshore would lock us into oil infrastructure for decades to come at a time when the world’s scientists are urgently saying the U.S. needs to move off of fossil fuels. We cannot meet our global climate targets and commitments if we continue to support dirty fuels extraction. An end to new offshore drilling projects moves us in the right direction.
“In addition, any new leasing or drilling in the Gulf further threatens the critically endangered Rice’s whale, where the species is now known to “persistently” occur. This species, which numbers less than 50 individuals, exclusively inhabits Gulf waters which are regularly leased for oil and gas production. The loss or irreparable harm to even one whale could cause them to disappear. Evidence provided by the federal government shows that oil and gas development – including seismic activities, vessel traffic, and resulting oil spills – poses a direct threat to the species existence that BOEM can no longer ignore in carrying out its OCSLA and Endangered Species Act duties.
“New leasing means decades more investment in this polluting infrastructure and more risk to our coastal ecosystems and wildlife. Although three lease sales is the lowest ever in a five year plan, no new leases is the best path forward given the advancements in the renewable energy realm. Our recent report called Renewables on the Rise is showing how fast and how far America has come with solar, wind, efficiency, batteries and more. Let’s lean into the future. Three is the lowest number of leases ever, but zero is the better option, and I urge you to think long and hard about zero.
“I urge you to make that future possible and schedule no new leasing in our ocean. Thank you.”
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Protect Our Oceans