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Biden Administration Invites Climate Catastrophe with Oil and Gas Lease Sale
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November 17, 2021
Earthjustice attorney Drew Caputo explains how the Biden administration will harm the environment by resuming the sale of oil and gas leases.
The Biden administration offered more than 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico for new oil and gas leasing today. The move contradicts President Biden’s commitments and promises on the global stage to act on climate.
Earthjustice has active litigation aimed at stopping the sale from becoming effective, offering a last line of defense against this dangerous commitment to decades of greenhouse gas emissions.
The litigation is one part of a comprehensive campaign urging the Biden administration to stop the sale. This campaign includes:
Allowing more oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is bad for the climate, wildlife, and communities.
The oil industry, with the federal government’s greenlight, has for too long treated the Gulf of Mexico as a sacrifice zone. This decision invites more destruction and disasters for Gulf Coast communities already suffering from rising temperatures, flooding, and pollution.
Underregulated oil and gas development puts Gulf Coast communities, coastal economies, and marine life at risk. Impacted species include sea turtles, dolphins, oysters, and whales — including the Rice’s whale, which is only found in the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the most endangered whales on the planet.
President Biden has acknowledged that we are facing a “profound climate crisis” and have little time left to pursue bold actions to avoid the most catastrophic impacts. Yet his administration determined that a United Nations report that warned climate change was becoming a cataclysmic problem “does not present sufficient cause” to revise an existing environmental analysis of this lease sale.
Earthjustice has filed a federal lawsuit to hold the government accountable to the science and its lawful duty to people and the planet.
Officials violated federal law by relying on a flawed and out-of-date environmental analysis from 2017. Since then, significant information has emerged about the severity of the climate crisis. The administration is legally obligated to evaluate this information before taking any action.
The Biden administration used the same flawed analysis weeks earlier in a case involving a massive oil and gas project in the Western Arctic. But Earthjustice held strong and shut them down in court.
On August 31, we filed a lawsuit against Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management following the notice of lease sale 257. We are representing Healthy Gulf, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and Center for Biological Diversity.
The case will be fully briefed by mid-December, and Earthjustice is moving for a decision before the leases become effective.
We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to stop this lease sale. It is Earthjustice’s goal to put an end to the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.
Sign this letter to President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland to overhaul the federal fossil fuel program and end new fossil fuel leasing.
Why is a phone number required? The Biden administration requires that all letters include the sender’s phone number. We only ask for a phone number because of this requirement. If your letter does not include a phone number, we will be unable to deliver it to the administration’s electronic comment system.
A new offshore lease sale would add more fossil fuel infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico and worsen the climate crisis.
(Brad Zweerink / Earthjustice)
“The health of communities and the health of your lungs aren’t subject to any do-overs.”
Earthjustice attorney, on enforcing the Clean Air Act