Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Groups Challenge Greedy Rush to Expand Offshore Drilling in Gulf

Energy
Groups Challenge Greedy Rush to Expand Offshore Drilling in Gulf

Southern Environmental Law Center

Photo by National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit on June 19 in Washington, D.C., that challenges the Obama administration’s plans to increase offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico without fully addressing the risks to wildlife and the environment. According to the suit, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) dismissed the lessons learned during the Deepwater Horizon disaster and failed to obtain essential information about the status of species and resources still suffering from the 2010 oil spill.

The Southern Environmental Law Center complaint filed on behalf of Oceana, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenges BOEM’s decision to accept bids from oil and gas companies for new leases in the Gulf of Mexico as part of Lease Sale 216/222.

Comments from the conservation groups follow:

“BOEM is continuing the same irresponsible approach that led to the oil spill and harm still being felt in the Gulf today,” said Catherine Wannamaker, the senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents the groups in court. “Before selling new leases at ground zero for the Gulf oil spill, the government ignored critical information about the spill’s impacts that may’ve changed how it proceeded and better protected life.”

“The government is gambling with the Gulf by encouraging even more offshore drilling in the same exceedingly deep waters that have already proven to be treacherous, rather than investing in safer clean energy that creates jobs without risking lives and livelihoods,” said Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for North America at Oceana. “This move sets us up for another disastrous oil spill, threatening more human lives, livelihoods, industries and marine life, including endangered species, in the greedy rush to expand offshore drilling.”

“Failing to fully analyze the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the potential of future spills before moving forward with drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is asking for another drilling catastrophe,” said Sierra Weaver, senior staff attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “If the government isn’t going to act in the interests of the region’s wildlife, natural habitats and coastal communities, we will.”

"Without new and fully-tested procedures in place to guard against future blowouts and improve post-spill containment and cleanup systems we are risking a repeat of the BP disaster two years ago," said David Pettit, senior attorney with NRDC.  "Increased drilling and exploration coupled with possible new oil spills would wreck havoc on an ecosystem that has a tenuous grip on existence."

“Federal regulators still haven’t learned from their mistakes,” said Deirdre McDonnell, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Even with hundreds of endangered sea turtles dead, the administration is plowing ahead with business as usual and squandering the opportunity to safeguard the Gulf’s wildlife. The name of the regulatory agency has changed but, sadly, not much else has since the biggest oil spill disaster in U.S. history.

Visit EcoWatch's GULF OIL SPILL page for more related news on this topic.

 

A woman marks down her vote on a ballot for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Herndon, Virginia. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Oliver Milman

The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A black bear cub climbs a tree at Tongass National Forest in Alaska. sarkophoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus

America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg protests in front of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm on September 25, 2020. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan

Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.

Read More Show Less

This fall brings three new environmental movies. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet | Official Trailer

This week marks the official start of fall, but longer nights and colder days can make it harder to spend time outdoors. Luckily, there are several inspiring environmental films that can be streamed at home.

Read More Show Less
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice walk out and rally at the company's headquarters to demand that leaders take action on climate change in Seattle, Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. JASON REDMOND / AFP via Getty Images

The world's largest online retailer is making it slightly easier for customer to make eco-conscious choices.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch