June 2010 BP oil spill (Photo: NOAA via Flickr usoceangov)
June 2010 BP oil spill (Photo: NOAA via Flickr usoceangov)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2016

Gulf Residents Continue Demand for No New Drilling Leases in Gulf of Mexico

Over 100 organizations and activists from Texas to Florida submit joint comment letter to BOEM

New Orleans — As part of the continued resistance to the expansion of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, over 100 community-based, grassroots, social and environmental justice organizations and activists from Texas to Florida submitted a joint letter (below) demanding that, like the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean also be removed from the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.  

In addition, over 130,000 public comments concerning the Administration’s 5-year plan to lease 47 million acres of Gulf waters to the oil and gas industry were submitted.  There is a growing momentum of unwavering resistance in the Gulf South, and they are not alone. Over 1.4 million people across that nation submitted comments in support removing the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean from the leasing program.

The Bureau state in the proposed 5 year plan that the benefits of leasing to the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico exceeds the costs.  In their letter, the Gulf organizations argue that the Bureau’s assessment does not fully take into account all the costs, direct and indirect, associated with the continued expansion of offshore drilling and does not adequately consider the market benefits of ending the leasing program for the expansion of renewable energy production in the South.  They urge the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Department of Interior, and President Obama to listen to and prioritize the experiences of communities in the Gulf that have known for generations the damage and destruction the fossil fuel industry causes, and to give the region a chance to prosper from the growing renewable energy economy.  

“Leaving the true costs the people of the Gulf bear as a result of this dangerous and destructive industry out of their calculations is an insult to the people of our region.  We will no longer stand for being the sacrificial zone for the nation’s energy needs.  We will no longer allow local, state, and national “representatives” to silence our voices,” said Mary Gutierrez, Executive Director of Earth Ethics, Inc.

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Gulf Regional Letter