For Immediate Release:

March 3, 2021

Contact:

Dustin Renaud

dustin@healthygulf.org

(228)209-2194

More than 50 Gulf Groups Applaud Biden Administration’s Oil and Gas Leasing Pause, Urge Just Transition for Gulf Communities as Next Step

This week, a group of more than 50 organizations based on the Gulf Coast sent a letter to the Biden administration applauding the executive action to pause all new oil and gas leasing while urging the administration to cancel all scheduled offshore lease sales and establish a plan that protects Gulf communities’ economies and environment. In particular, the letter urges the National Climate Task Force to create a “just transition plan for the Gulf of Mexico that centers on impacted Gulf communities and workers” that considers the following priorities for the Gulf:

  • Cancellation of scheduled offshore lease sales and permanent protections for all planning areas;
  • Restoration, resilience, and recovery of the Gulf of Mexico environment and coast and the Gulf South communities;
  • A plan that ensures good jobs, healthcare, housing, and food security for families currently dependent upon oil and gas development; 
  • Consultation of impacted frontline communities to address the disproportionate burden of pollution that low-income and communities of color experience; and more.

The letter also comes as the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources prepares to advance the historic nomination of President Biden’s pick to lead the Interior Department: Congresswoman Deb Haaland of New Mexico. Rep. Haaland, the first Indigenous Cabinet nominee, has been a leading advocate for environmental justice and ensuring that local communities are engaged in the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. 

Below, please find quotes on the leasing pause and Rep. Haaland’s nomination from organizations that signed the letter.

“President Biden’s commitment to environmental justice has been praised from frontline communities across the Gulf South,” said Dustin Renaud, Communications Director for Healthy Gulf. “But that commitment to environmental justice cannot stop with words. We need support on the ground to change the decades-long destruction of our communities from overexploitation of the fossil fuel industry. This is an historic first step, and we are ready to get to work creating a just transition away from dirty energy.” 

“Rep. Deb Haaland will bring about much-needed change to the Department of Interior as the next Interior Secretary,” said Mary Gutierrez, Director of Earth Ethics, Inc based in Pensacola, Florida. “She will work to ensure that the voices of local communities are heard in conversations about oil and gas exploration and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. I know she will support our efforts to protect our waters from the exploitative efforts of the oil and gas industry by issuing a permanent ban on drilling.” 

“We wholeheartedly support the Biden administration’s common-sense decision to pause all new offshore oil and gas leasing while they evaluate the impacts of drilling on our communities, environments, and economies,” said Robin Schneider, Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment. “Texas’ Gulf communities have seen firsthand the dangers of offshore drilling but they also know the potential for a clean energy future to provide good jobs while protecting our coastal environment. We look forward to working with the administration and Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland to build a just, prosperous, and sustainable future for all Gulf communities.”

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