Biden’s five-year drilling plan would exacerbate climate disaster

New offshore leasing proposal puts frontline communities at risk, deepens long-term reliance on dirty energy

WASHINGTONToday, the Biden administration’s Department of Interior issued a draft five-year offshore oil and gas drilling plan proposing new leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Gulf of Mexico and one potential lease sale in Cook Inlet in Alaska. Coastal communities and national climate groups staunchly oppose the plan and see it as the latest example of the President abandoning his promise to end new drilling on public lands and waters. 

Hallie Templeton, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement: 

We are devastated that the administration continues to capitulate to fossil fuel interests. President Biden’s empty climate promises expose him as yet another leader who cares more about polluters than about a livable future for people and the planet. We will continue fighting for the health and livelihoods of our neighbors in the Gulf South and Alaska who have unjustly suffered as a sacrificial zone to Big Oil for generations. 

According to the Biden administration’s artificially low social cost of carbon metric, new drilling could unleash at least $20.8 billion of environmental and public health damage annually, leaving society to foot the bill. In the Gulf of Mexico alone, the social cost of drilling could be at least $862.9 billion. These figures vastly outweigh proposed revenue for state and local governments and allow the oil and gas industry to profit in the billions.  

Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups successfully sued the Biden administration, vacating the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history in the Gulf of Mexico. The groups argued that Interior failed to fully account for and analyze the global greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from the sale.  

These organizations are now preparing technical comments on the draft plan and will closely analyze the final product to ensure that all federal environmental laws are properly fulfilled. 

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