WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced plans to expand the waters available in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling, as part of the new five-year leasing plan that will take effect in 2024.
Manish Bapna, president and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) made the following statement:
“This is the last thing we need – and the last place we need it. Gulf waters have never been hotter. Rising seas are swamping the Gulf coast. Louisiana is suffering some of the worst heat, drought and wildfires in the state’s history.
“The message from the Gulf is clear. It’s time to break, not deepen, our dependence on the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis. It’s time to make federal ocean waters part of the climate fix, not the problem. It’s time to reduce, not increase, offshore drilling that exposes oceans, marine life and coastal communities to catastrophic risk and ongoing harm. It’s time to end the unconscionable health risks that producing, refining and exporting Gulf fuels inflicts on local communities.
“This plan calls for fewer new offshore leases than previous federal five-year plans. But let’s be clear: oil and gas companies already hold leases to enough of the Gulf of Mexico to cover half the state of Indiana – and to produce oil and gas at current rates for decades. Exposing even more of the Gulf to the risk of a BP-style blowout makes no sense.”
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.