204 Groups Call for No New Offshore Oil and Gas Leases

The Biden Administration’s Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program is expected this month. It’s an opportunity for bold leadership on climate.

BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion in the Gulf of Mexico


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This morning, on behalf of 204 organizations, NRDC delivered a letter to President Biden, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and senior administration officials urging them to propose a Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program that includes no new lease sales. The groups wrote that “[m]ore offshore leasing is as unnecessary for our energy security as it is disastrous for our climate and communities.” They went on to say that, “[t]he U.S. produces enough oil and gas that it far exceeds our domestic needs and is exported to other countries. Moreover, because of the lag time between lease issuance and production, an end to new leasing would not meaningfully affect offshore production levels for almost a decade.” 

Indeed, U.S. demand for oil will drop dramatically over the next three decades thanks to new clean transportation policies, such as the Inflation Reduction Act electric vehicle tax credits, according to a recent analysis conducted for NRDC by independent analytics firm OnLocation. As demand falls, U.S. oil production will decrease only slightly, while exports of crude oil will rise significantly. These findings make it abundantly clear that the United States does not need new offshore oil and gas leasing to meet national energy needs.  

As the letter says, we need to end—not expand—offshore leasing. Big Oil already holds thousands of unused leases totaling millions of acres to drill on public waters. President Biden and his agencies are the stewards of our public lands and waters; they hold these resources in trust for all of us. Our leaders have a responsibility to use these special areas in a way that benefits our communities and future generations, which includes tackling the climate crisis. And that means standing up to the fossil fuel industry. 

Millions of people opposed the approval ConocoPhillips Willow Project in Alaska, and President Biden’s proposed offshore leasing plan could release anywhere from the same amount of carbon emissions as the Willow project to 10 times more, according to the federal government’s own projections. My generation, Gen Z, led the #StopWillow mobilization on social media, and we oppose new offshore oil and gas leasing too. Young activists like Jamie Margolin, a fellow founder of the youth-led climate justice organization Zero Hour, and Nupol Kiazolu, an award-winning civil rights advocate, agree that the country needs a Five-Year Program with no new leases. Jamie expressed that, “[m]ore offshore drilling means polluting the air and putting the water, marine life, and coasts at risk for another major oil spill. We are now in the era of global boiling – a catastrophic climate emergency – the absolute last thing that we need to be doing is more drilling.”

As Nupol put it, “Offshore drilling puts our people, waters and wildlife in grave danger… If we want future generations to have access to safe, equitable and healthy environments, the work starts now.”

There is still time for the Biden Administration to stand with more than 200 groups who wrote the letter today, along with Gen Z, and communities in the Gulf South and Alaska, by proposing a Five-Year Program with no new leases. 

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