WASHINGTON, January 26, 2021 – An Oceana analysis released today finds permanent offshore drilling protections for unleased federal waters could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property and the environment. Oceana calls on President Biden to permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling to ensure the future of our coastal economy that depends on a healthy ocean and help address the growing climate crisis.
“By permanently protecting our coasts from dirty offshore drilling and advancing clean energy sources like offshore wind, we can simultaneously combat climate change and safeguard our clean coast economy,” said Oceana campaign director Diane Hoskins. “President Biden has an incredible opportunity to act on climate change and protect our coasts once and for all by closing the chapter on future offshore oil leasing. If enacted, President Biden’s campaign commitments to tackle the climate crisis and protect our waters from new offshore oil drilling will ensure we build back better, keep coastal economies safe from oil disasters and support a transition to clean, renewable energy.”
Oceana’s analysis finds banning offshore drilling in all federal waters could:
- Prevent more than 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions: the equivalent of taking every car in the nation off the road for 15 years – or nearly three times the total annual emissions in the U.S.
- Prevent over $720 billion in damages to people, property and the environment: comparable to more than the annual GDP of a major city like Washington D.C., Boston or Atlanta
- Safeguard the U.S. clean coast economy, which supports around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in GDP through activities like tourism, recreation and fishing
- Support a transition away from fossil fuels toward clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind
Oceana recommends President Biden end new leasing for offshore oil and gas and prioritize responsible development of offshore wind to combat the climate crisis. Oceana also recommends that Congress enact a permanent ban on all new leasing for offshore oil and gas.
“Oil and gas companies are responsible for the devastating impacts of climate change, like more frequent and powerful storms, droughts, wildfires and famine,” said Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer at Oceana. “These companies should not be granted license to continue generating the greenhouse gases that are driving the climate catastrophe. Climate change is wreaking havoc today, now, in America. To avoid even worse damage in the future, we must begin the transition to clean energy immediately.”
As of today, opposition and concern over offshore drilling activities nationwide includes:
- Every East and West Coast governor, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Oregon and Washington
- More than 390 local municipalities
- Over 2,300 local, state and federal bipartisan officials
- East and West Coast alliances representing over 55,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families
- Pacific, New England, South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils
- More than 120 scientists
- More than 80 former military leaders
- Commercial and recreational fishing interests such as Southeastern Fisheries Association, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, Fisheries Survival Fund, Southern Shrimp Alliance, Billfish Foundation and International Game Fish Association
- California Coastal Commission, California Fish and Game Commission and California State Lands Commission
- Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force and Florida Defense Support Task Force
For Oceana’s full analysis, please visit Oceana.org/ClimateCrisis.
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling activities, please click here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit usa.oceana.org to learn more.