Restore Essential Ocean Protections in Build Back Better Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senate negotiators have scrubbed language from the Build Back Better Act that would protect ocean waters, marine life and coastal communities from the risk of offshore oil and gas drilling. The language that was taken out would have ended future leases for oil and gas drilling in federal Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico waters. 

Alexandra Adams, senior director of federal affairs for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), made the following statement:

“We won’t Build Back Better by exposing more of our ocean waters, marine life and coastal communities to the risks of the next BP-style disaster at sea. And we won’t strengthen our economy by locking future generations into decades more reliance on dirty fuels that do more harm than good. The Senate should restore these essential protections immediately - and then pass this bill.

“Oil and gas companies already hold leases to 10.773 million acres (16,833 square miles) of ocean bottom in the Gulf of Mexico alone - enough to cover nearly half of Indiana. The industry has yet to develop most of that - 8.006 million acres, or about 12,510 square miles.

“In other words, the industry already has enough ocean bottom to cover the state of Maryland available for new oil and gas drilling. That's more than enough to continue operations through the years we must devote to phasing out our reliance on oil and gas and shifting to cleaner, smarter ways to power our future.”

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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