Quantcast

First Gulf Oil Lease Sale Approved Since BP Spill

Energy

Center for Biological Diversity

The federal government announced Nov. 10 the first oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP explosion and oil spill in April 2010. Despite the devastating impacts of that spill on fish, sea turtles, dolphins and whale sharks, the new sale opens up 21 million acres to drilling, from nine miles to 250 miles offshore—a decision that perpetuates the same approach to drilling that led to the disaster.

“The Obama administration missed an opportunity to look at the real impacts of offshore oil drilling,” said Deirdre McDonnell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead it’s turning a blind eye to the risks.”

The government claims oil and gas development in depths of water ranging from 16 to more than 10,975 feet is environmentally sound. Yet according to the president’s own National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, special risks emerge when drilling ultra-deepwater wells at depths greater than 5,000 feet—including the risk of an uncontrolled blowout like Deepwater Horizon, the largest manmade environmental disaster in U.S. history.

“Caving to industry, President Obama’s giving the green light to offshore drilling we know has the potential to kill marine life and the coastal communities that depend on it,” said McDonnell. “This sale is a return to business as usual. For the sake of a quick buck today, future generations will pay with polluted waters and devastating climate change.”

More than a year after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, effects are still clearly present—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has confirmed fishermen reports of Gulf finfish like red snapper with open and unhealed sores. University of Georgia scientists have documented a seafloor still covered in oil and dead creatures, and University of Central Florida research recently linked the oil spill to more than 150 dead dolphins that have washed up on Gulf coasts since January 2011, including 65 newborn, infants, stillborn or those born prematurely. Scientists are still examining the full impact of the spill, including those that may show up over time in the Gulf food chain and future generations of aquatic life. Many communities and residents whose livelihoods and culture are tied to the Gulf through fisheries, seafood and tourism are still recovering from the impact of the months-long gusher.

For more information, click here.

—————

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

Read More Show Less
Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less