Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Oceana Urges Cancellation of Central Gulf Lease Sale

Oceana

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) paved the way to opening roughly 63 million acres in the Central Gulf of Mexico Jan. 11 by issuing its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Central Gulf lease sale 216/222 to new oil and gas exploration and development. This area notably includes the site of British Petroleum's (BP) massive 2010 oil spill.

“The Central Gulf of Mexico is literally a disaster zone, with oil plumes and dispersants still in the water, and marine life still trying to recover. We haven’t even fully assessed the damage done by the last spill. Allowing more drilling there is like opening up a crime scene before you have all the evidence and while the perpetrator is still at large,” said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director for international ocean conservation group Oceana. “We need to understand what happened, how it affected the ecosystem and how we can prevent it from happening again before we reopen for business,” Savitz added.

For more specifics about shortcomings in drilling safety requirements, see the new Oceana analysis, False Sense of Safety.

Central Gulf waters are important habitat for bluefin and yellowfin tuna, red snapper, red drum and gulf sturgeon, in addition to numerous marine mammals. Many of these species are already struggling. Gulf sturgeon are endangered and bluefin tuna have been severely overfished. Until the status of these species is confirmed, it’s impossible to determine the impacts of this lease sale, a step required by law prior to the sale.

Many of the existing leases already purchased in the Gulf have yet to be tapped for oil. According to the U.S. Department of Interior, 76 percent of leases in the Central Gulf remained inactive as of October 2011 The companies holding these leases have not yet produced any oil from them. In addition, BOEM just sold off many more leases in the Western Gulf last month.

For these reasons, Oceana urges the Obama administration to more fully consider the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill prior to moving forward with a proposed Central Gulf lease sale.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hurricane Florence on Sept. 12, 2018. ESA / A.Gerst / CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2020 hurricane season is now expected to be the most active since at least the early 1980s, meteorologists at Colorado State University, a standard bearer for seasonal hurricane predictions, announced Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Qamutik cargo ship on July 28, 2020 in Canada's Nunavut province, where two ice caps have disappeared completely. Fiona Paton / Flickr

Three years ago, scientists predicted it would happen. Now, new NASA satellite imagery confirms it's true: two ice caps in Canada's Nunavut province have disappeared completely, providing more visual evidence of the rapid warming happening near the poles, as CTV News in Canada reported.

Read More Show Less
The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. European Environmental Agency / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Katell Ané

The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. It is the newest strategy under the European Green Deal, setting sustainability targets for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.

Read More Show Less
President Trump signs an executive order regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday for violating their policies against spreading false information about COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute staff and volunteers try to help a stranded bottlenose dolphin in Cockroach Bay near Ruskin, Florida on Sept. 17, 2015. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of plastics and new forms of synthetic chemicals in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
Smoke rises above wrecked buildings following a deadly explosion on Aug. 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Marwan Tahtah / Getty Images

By Alexander Freund

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says he believes Tuesday's explosion in Beirut could have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored in the port.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Black Americans are dying from Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, and at younger ages, partly due to poor diets that make bodies less resistant to the coronavirus. Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

By Michelle D. Holmes

Most Americans know about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans primarily through their colorful representations: the original food pyramid, which a few years ago morphed into MyPlate. The guidelines represent the government mothering us to choose the healthiest vegetables, grains, sources of protein, and desserts, and to eat them in the healthiest portions.

As innocuous as the food pyramid and MyPlate seem, they are actually a matter of life and death.

Read More Show Less