Sierra Club: Obama Administration Unveils Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling Plan

Draft Plan Protects Atlantic Ocean but Leaves Arctic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Vulnerable to Oil and Gas Drilling

Washington, D.C. –(ENEWSPF)–March 15, 2016.  Today, the Obama administration released a draft of the 2017-2022 plan for offshore drilling, known as the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The plan protects the Atlantic Ocean, proposes new climate-based standards for leasing and drilling in the Arctic, but still allows oil and gas drilling in the central and western Gulf of Mexico.

Previously, President Obama has called for a transitioning off of fossil fuels, including stating in the State of the Union Address: “Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future, especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels.”

In the coming weeks, there will be hearings on the revised draft around the country, offering the public a chance to testify on the proposal.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“We applaud the Obama administration for listening to the tens of thousands of citizens up and down the East Coast and protecting the Atlantic Ocean, safeguarding its beaches and coastal economies.

“After leading the world into a historic climate agreement in Paris and a pact with Canada to protect the Arctic just last week, we hope that the administration will continue its efforts and remove the Arctic Ocean and block new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Paris and Canadian climate agreements mark the beginning, not the end of the work that must be done. Excluding the Arctic Ocean from drilling along with the Atlantic, and ending future drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is a perfect way to continue the job at hand.

“As President Obama noted when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, if we are to achieve a safe climate future for us all, we will have to keep fossil fuels in the ground. To do so, President Obama should remove the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico from the five year plan — just like he has with the Atlantic Ocean — and continue our transition to a clean energy economy.”