An oil spill in the Gulf was reported at the same time that Obama's team was taking public comments on a plan to lease almost 100 million acres of new drilling. Will you write a letter to your local newspaper so we can stop this madness before Big Oil spills again, cooks the climate or worse?
Yesterday, two big things happened that prove why we need to ban all new off shore oil drilling and a plan to #KeepItInTheGulf:
- An accident at an underwater pipe system connecting four oil wells in the Gulf created a huge oil slick reported to be almost 90,000 gallons.1 The pipelines in question are owned by Shell, and are only 50 miles farther from the shore than than the BP Disaster.
- President Obama's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a hearing in New Orleans on their plan to sell off 92.2 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.2 Our friends showed up in force, some of them carrying tarballs found on Gulf beaches within the last few weeks. They also brought more than 20,000 comments from Environmental Action members like you who've signed on to say that tapping the eighth largest carbon reserve on Earth would be a disaster for our climate and increase the chances of another oil spill.3
According to the Coast Guard's National Response Center, the oil industry has thousands of accidents in the Gulf of Mexico every year, and many of them under-report the actual volume of oil spilled or its real cost on Gulf communities.4 So we're standing up to that ongoing destruction this week by rallying with our allies in the Gulf, and journeying with many of them to Washington, D.C. this weekend to for the final Break Free event in the US -- which will specifically call for a ban on new offshore oil drilling by the Obama Administration.
You've already signed our petition. Will you write a letter to the editor of your local paper about this news? Together we can make sure everyone knows that we can't afford more drilling in the Gulf. To avert he worst effects of climate disruption, save our coasts (all three of them) and save life on earth - including us humans - we need to keep 80 percent of fossil fuels in the ground and finance a just transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Click here to send a letter to your local paper.
The Gulf region has been used as a pollution sacrifice zone for decades. From Keystone XL’s southern leg to new oil and gas export facilities, too often the Gulf of Mexico gets the drilling, spilling and pollution of the oil and gas industry. To add insult to injury, companies like BP, Exxon and Shell can often lease public lands like the ones BOEM is proposing to auction in this plan for as little as $2 an acre.5
And with up to 894 million barrels of oil and as much as 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas on the auction block, you can bet BOEM's lease plan will attract plenty of bidders.6 But leases like this are what led to the 2010 BP Horizon oil spill, which President Obama called the “worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.”7
And yet, despite the ongoing spills and pollution in the Gulf, most of the attention from Congress and main stream media has focused on the Atlantic (already banned) and Arctic drilling sections of the BOEM plan.8 That's a huge mistake, both because there's a lot more drilling proposed for the Gulf than any other region, and because the pollution and climate change caused by these fossil fuels aren't regional, they're global. Click here to send a letter to your local paper backing up our friends in the Gulf!
Drew and the Keep it In the Gulf crew at Environmental Action
PS - I hope you'll join us this weekend at a Break Free event near you! - Click here for more details on the events in New York, California, Colorado, Illinois and in D.C.
1 - Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Shell Oil Accident Shows Why New Gulf Drilling Must End, IC Magazine, May 13, 2016
2 - BOEM , BOEM Completes Draft Multisale Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed 2017-2022 Gulf of Mexico OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sales, April 21, 2016
3 - Melissa Cronin, Climate activists gear up to protest new oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Grist, March 21, 2016
3 - Robinson Meyer, Obama Abandons Plans to Drill in the Atlantic Ocean, The Atlantic, March 15, 2016
Rebecca Leber, Obama’s coal reforms put the heat on Hillary and Bernie, Grist, January 19, 2016
4 - US Coast Gaurd, National Response Center, May 2016
5 - Rainforest Action network, Public Lands, Private Profits, September 28, 2015
6 - Richard Thompson, Central Gulf oil, gas lease sale set for March, new Orleans Advocate, September 11, 2015
7 - The White House Press Secretary, Remarks by the President to the Nation on the BP Oil Spill, June 15, 2010
8 - Asha Glover, Lawmakers Want BOEM to Remove Arctic Sales From Leasing Program, The Morning Consult, May 3, 201