Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, May 11, 2016


Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909
Renate Heurich, 350 Louisiana, (504) 473-2710
Blake Kopcho, Center for Biological Diversity, (805) 708-3435

Gulf Coast Residents Continue Movement Demanding
No New Offshore Leases at Rally, Hearing in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS— Gulf Coast residents and their allies will continue to press their demand for no new offshore fossil fuel leases during a May 12 rally and public hearing on federal plans to promote more offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Starting with a high-profile rally at the Superdome in March, this growing environmental-justice movement is staging lively rallies at a series of public hearings from Panama City, Fla., to Houston, Texas. 

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has been holding meetings on its proposal to issue 10 new offshore leases covering 70 million acres in the Gulf as part of its proposed 2017-2022 offshore fossil fuel development plan. The agency is collecting public comments until June 6 and planning to finalize the plan by year’s end. This latest hearing in New Orleans will be a chance for Gulf residents to raise concerns about the plan’s threats to the climate, wildlife and local communities and lay out an alternative vision for investment in renewable energy and a just transition away from intensive fossil fuel production in the region. 

What: Press conference and rally at BOEM public hearing

Where: Sheraton Metairie—New Orleans Hotel, 4 Galleria Boulevard, Metairie, Louisiana, 70001

Who: Gulf Coast residents and their allies in the environmental and social-justice movements

When: Thursday, May 12, 1 p.m. CT

Why: BOEM’s proposal to lease more than 70 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico so that oil and gas companies can drill for an estimated 9.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent for the next 70 years will deepen the climate crisis and reverse course on President Obama’s commitment to take robust action on climate change.

Oil spills and air pollution from offshore drilling and industrial oil facilities, including refineries that support the industry, make people sick and disproportionately harm low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. But in its environmental impact statement, which is the subject of this hearing, BOEM fails to adequately consider the environmental-justice impacts of its proposal.

The Bureau’s refusal to consider or disclose impacts from consuming the oil and gas extracted under its proposal is morally and legally unjustifiable. Continuing to treat the Gulf Coast as a sacrifice zone harms public and ecological health in a region that is still recovering from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

New offshore oil development will accelerate deepwater drilling and fracking, dangerous practices that increase the risk of yet more accidents and spills, which BOEM fails to sufficiently analyze in its study of the proposed 10 lease sales in the Gulf.

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