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07 • 01 • 2022

Surfrider Objects to Federal Plan for Destructive New Offshore Drilling

By Pete Stauffer

The Interior Department proposal threatens wildlife, ecosystems, communities, businesses and our climate: Submit comments to make your voice heard!

The Surfrider Foundation is deeply dismayed that the federal administration 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.

The federal offshore drilling program has a direct impact on our nation’s ocean recreation and tourism economy that generates over $150 billion annually. These industries depend on a clean coastal environment to support a combined 2.5 million jobs across the United States, including over 362,000 in the Gulf of Mexico region. Allowing new offshore drilling will damage public resources that these industries depend upon by generating harmful impacts through every phase of the drilling process. Such drilling will also subject communities to the ever-present risks of oil spills which can be catastrophic to both the environment and economy.

Further, the U.S. does not need new offshore leasing to meet its national energy needs. The oil and gas industry already has thousands of fully approved, but unused drilling permits that they are sitting on across the U.S. Moreover, energy independence will never be found at the bottom of an oil well. Gas prices are determined by global markets and would not be significantly impacted by new offshore drilling in U.S. waters according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Instead of doubling down on harmful offshore drilling, the U.S. should embrace comprehensive and environmentally sustainable energy solutions, including energy conservation.

The Surfrider Foundation urges the Biden administration to adopt a 5-year offshore oil and gas program for 2023-2028 with no new lease sales. Such action will protect valuable marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as the communities and businesses that depend on these resources. Instead of approving new oil and gas leasing in U.S. waters, our leaders should support the necessary transition to clean energy by investing in renewable energy development for the benefit of the environment and economy. 

Offshore drilling is wildly unpopular across the country with members of both political parties opposed to expanded oil and gas development off our coasts. To date, more than 400 municipalities, 2,500 elected officials, 55,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have formally opposed new offshore oil and gas development. And, with the climate emergency threatening the future of our planet, we can no longer afford the costs of fossil fuels. 

The Surfrider Foundation is determined to prevent the administration’s proposal from being finalized, but we need your help. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) opened a 90-day public comment period on July 8th to provide feedback on the proposal, and is also planning public meetings in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, members of Congress have introduced a package of bills that would permanently prohibit offshore oil and gas development in many regions of the U.S., and are speaking out against the administration’s plans for new drilling.

Make Your Voice Heard

Please join us by submitting comments to BOEM and contacting your federal representatives in support of #NoNewLeases off our coasts. We also urge our supporters to attend upcoming virtual public meetings to provide testimony against new offshore drilling in our oceans! 

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. Please visit our campaign page and take action below!

Three Things You Can Do 

1. Submit comments to BOEM: visit regulations.gov

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) launched a 90-day public comment period on July 8th to solicit feedback on the proposal. Please ask the agency to finalize a 5-year offshore drilling plan with no new leases. Submit your official comments on regulations.gov using our sample talking points or complete our petition to BOEM. 

2. Contact your federal representatives: take action

Members of Congress need to hear from constituents opposed to offshore drilling. Please complete the action alert and call your representatives in the House and Senate.

3. Attend a virtual public meeting:

BOEM will be hosting virtual meetings for the public to learn more and provide feedback. For more information visit the BOEM website and Register Online. Virtual meetings will be held on the following dates:

  • August 23rd
  • August 25th
  • August 29th
  • August 31st

Stop Offshore Drilling Campaign Resources

Campaign Resources on Surfrider's Brand Portal

Action Alert to Interior Dept on 5-Year Plan

Action Alert to Congress