The Interior Department is proposing new offshore oil and gas leasing in U.S. waters in the 5-Year Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil & Gas Leasing Program for 2023 - 2028. Offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous practice that harms the ocean and coastal environment and threatens human communities and economies. New offshore drilling would also exacerbate the climate crisis as our nation and world struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The administration’s proposal includes ten lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and an option for a lease sale in Cook Inlet off Alaska. Such lease sales would lock our nation into future decades of offshore drilling, while imposing huge risks to the health of communities, workers, businesses, wildlife, and the climate. That’s why community-led organizations in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, along with environmental groups and businesses across the U.S, are united in calling for the Biden administration to finalize a 5-year program with no new leases.
Surfrider is determined to prevent the proposal from being finalized. We're working with our chapters and partners to demand that the Interior Department adopt a 5-year plan with #NoNewLeases. On September 12, 2022, Surfrider members joined nearly a hundred advocates from the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and beyond in testifying against the proposed lease sales in the only public hearing. Surfrider is also collaborating with the Taproot Earth #NoNewLeases coalition of environmental justice groups, community organizations and national NGOs. Our collective efforts resulted in over 700,000 people submitting comments against the proposal.
In the fall of 2023, the Department of Interior is expected to release the Proposed Final 5-Year Offshore Drilling Plan, which members of Congress will have 30 days to review. Please stay tuned for updates on the 5-Year Plan and opportunities to take action!
During the 2023-2024 Congress, Surfrider is urging our federal leaders in the House and Senate to pass legislation to permanently ban oil and gas development. The current 5-year plan process reinforces that our coasts will never be safe from the threat of offshore drilling until new oil and gas leasing is prohibited. Accordingly, we are working with members of Congress to introduce and pass bills that will protect different regions of the country from this harmful activity.
Several bills have been introduced thus far, including the West Coast Protection Act (S 22/ HR 470), which would ban drilling off the West Coast, the COAST Anti-Drilling Act (S. 1851 / H.R. 3116), which would ban drilling off the East Coast, and the Florida Coastal Protection Act (H.R.1443) and that would protect the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and other waters off Florida.
Surfrider is determined to pass these and other bills to ensure that U.S. waters will not continue to be vulnerable to new leasing through the 5-year plan process.
Please join us by contacting your federal representatives in support of #NoNewLeases off our coasts. Take action and call your representatives in the House and Senate.
Without a massive mobilization by the public, our voice will be drowned out by the lobbying power of Big Oil in Washington, D.C. Let’s protect the places we love and #protectourcoasts!