Protect Our Oceans

Members of Congress urge President Biden include ‘no new leases’ in final offshore drilling plan

President Biden's plans for drilling off our coast are set to be released soon. Last week, members of Congress called on him to include zero leases in the final plan.


U.S. Department of the Interior via Flickr | Public Domain
3776 Oil spill response actions near drill site May 27, 2010 from 3,000 feet in Coast Guard C-144. Photo by Tom MacKenzie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The waters in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska contain incredible ocean life. Picture dolphins playing, sea turtles gliding along the surf and whales diving below the waves. Sadly, this scene is put at risk every time we drill for oil and gas off our shores–and impending actions by the Biden administration could mean more drilling in the ocean.

In the coming weeks, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is expected to release its final 2023-2028 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Every five years, the administration in office is required to release a plan like this. While we don’t yet know what will be in the final version, an earlier draft tells us it could call for up to 11 lease sales over the five years. This would open millions more acres of ocean in the Gulf of Mexico and Cook Inlet in Alaska for oil exploration and could prove disastrous for the dolphins, sea turtles and whales that call it home.

Fossil fuels and our society’s dependence on them have exacerbated the climate crisis by increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Going forward with new leases now, at a time when it’s so apparent the damage they cause, is not just a bad idea–it’s absurd.

That’s why I was glad to see members of Congress submit a letter to the Biden administration calling for “no new leases” in the final plan because of the impacts new drilling would have on our climate, our oceans and our coastal communities.

“We cannot drill our way to a safe climate, healthy environment, and thriving economy,” the letter reads.

You can read the full letter here.

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