Friends of the Earth Denounces Massive, Unlawful Gulf Lease Sale

Friends of the Earth Denounces Massive, Unlawful Gulf Lease Sale

Biden’s latest carbon bomb is one of the largest oil and gas leases sale in U.S. history

WASHINGTON – Today, the Biden Administration offered 73.3 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing despite widespread opposition from Gulf community and national environmental groups. Lease Sale 259 follows Biden’s recent approval of the Willow Project in the Western Arctic, the largest oil extraction project ever proposed on federal lands. Both decisions are the subject of litigation over their unlawful reliance on faulty environmental reviews.  

Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager at Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement:  

President Biden’s decision to once again sacrifice an enormous portion of the Gulf of the Mexico for oil and gas drilling is unconscionable. Reviving lease sales and greenlighting massive fossil fuel projects demonstrates the Administration cares more about Big Oil profits than frontline communities and endangered species. We will continue pushing Biden to take his long-held climate promises seriously and stop locking us into decades of dirty energy. 

Despite being touted as the largest climate bill in U.S. history, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) reinstated previously canceled oil and gas lease sales, including a sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet held earlier this year. As a result, the Biden Administration moved forward with this lease sale and plans to hold at least one more in the Gulf of Mexico, Lease Sale 261, in the coming months.  

Earlier this month, environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging Lease Sale 259, citing the threats it would pose to the climate, communities and endangered species. The sale would vastly expand drilling directly in the habitat of the Rice’s whale, a species on the brink of extinction with only 50 whales remaining in the Gulf of Mexico.  

In 2021, Earthjustice filed a successful lawsuit on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Healthy Gulf, Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity that vacated the largest ever lease in U.S. history, which was also in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Communications contact: Brittany Miller, [email protected], (202) 222-0746 

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