Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued its final five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling that would allow a maximum of three offshore oil and gas lease sales over the next five years. By comparison, the last plan—from 2017 to 2022—held 11 lease sales, and the program has averaged 23 lease sales per five-year plan over its history. In response, Nicole Gentile, senior director of Conservation at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
Any new offshore oil leasing reinforces threats to coastal communities and locks us into using more fossil fuels in the future. While it is disappointing that the plan includes new offshore oil and gas leasing at all, it is a sign of progress that the administration has scheduled dramatically fewer oil and gas lease sales than any plan in the program’s history.
The Biden administration has committed to an impressive build-out of clean offshore wind energy, which ultimately puts the United States on the path to a 100 percent clean energy future. That will better protect coastal communities from pollution and climate change. But new offshore wind projects should not be tethered to new offshore oil leasing. Federal officials must assess the trade-offs that come with holding offshore oil and gas lease sales and prioritize protecting front-line coastal communities and marine species.
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