Obama administration considers new offshore oil and gas leases

Media Contacts

Environment America

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Americans around the country prepare to head for summer vacations at the beach, today the Obama administration announced the beginning of the planning process to develop the next set of potential offshore oil and gas leases for 2017 through 2022.

“Our beaches and coastal wildlife, like seabirds, dolphins and turtles are too precious to be threatened by oil spills,” said Anna Aurilio, director of the Washington, D.C. office of Environment America, a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. “President Obama should not open new areas to drilling. Instead, he should be protecting all our coasts from the kinds of environmental and economic devastation the 2010 BP oil spill brought to the Gulf of Mexico.”

On April 20, 2010, BP’s well exploded, killing 11 workers and ultimately spewing 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was the worst in U.S. history and continues to have long-term impacts on Gulf ecosystems.

“We should heed the lesson of the 2010 BP oil spill,” said Aurilio. “Offshore drilling is an inherently dirty and dangerous business. Even four years later, new research has found that as many as 800,000 birds were killed in the spill and dolphins continue to show signs of illness likely related to the spill.”

America is making progress toward getting off of oil. Americans drove 3 percent fewer miles between 2007 and 2012 and new fuel efficiency standards rose from 20.7 miles per gallon (MPG) in 2004 to 25.2 MPG in 2012. This has led to an 8 percent decrease in overall oil consumption since 2007. In the coming years, America’s fuel standards will nearly double as President Obama’s clean cars standard ramps up – ultimately reaching 54.5 MPG by 2025.

“We don’t need more dirty drilling,” said Aurilio. “President Obama should continue to lead the charge to dramatically reduce our oil dependence, cut pollution, and shift to a clean energy future.”