Bold Louisiana state director Cherri Foytlin arrested during sit-in at Dept. of Interior to demand halt to new fossil fuel lease sales. (Photo: Rainforest Action Network)

The Obama Administration on Dec. 21 took action to permanently protect the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from offshore drilling for oil & gas. Bold Louisiana director Cherri Foytlin’s statement is below.

“The decision by the Obama Administration to put the majority of the Arctic and Atlantic into permanent protection is a victory to everyone living on the planet,” said Bold Louisiana director Cherri Foytlin.

“Gulf Coastal communities and organizations have been working to support both regions in their struggles for a long time, and we are elated that these areas are now protected for future generations.

Yet meanwhile, we are forced to wonder: when will we matter as well?

When will our fishing communities be allowed to again sustain a culture and livelihood that pre-dates oil and gas?

When will the children living in Cancer Alley, or Manchester in Houston, or Wedgewood in Pensacola, or near the port in Mobile, AL, or near the refineries in Pascagoula, MS, or Baton Rouge, LA – when will they be allowed to breathe free?

To stop putting small wooden crosses noting another cancer death in their yard?

When will the dolphins, turtles, whales, and other sea life be protected?

When will our communities and culture be able to stop being displaced by climate change?

When will self-determination be granted to us?

What about renewable energies and the jobs that go with them; when will this become priority for our region?

The Gulf accounts for 96 percent of all offshore and gas production in federal waters of the United States. And it is the most vulnerable populations of the Gulf who are both denied the benefit and suffer the most from that disproportionate extraction.

There have been over 11,000 oil spills since the 2010 BP Drilling Disaster – which was the largest environmental catastrophe in American history.

We understand that President Obama is trying to tie knots that the next Administration will have trouble undoing, and again, we are thankful.

But while some get knots, the Gulf gets a big, bright bow.

When will our families stop being a gift to the alter of sacrifice for the profits of Big Oil?”