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Washington, DC August 24, 2016 – This morning, leading national environmental organizations delivered nearly 200,000 petition signatures to the Obama Administration to call for the cancelation of today’s fossil fuel auction in the Gulf in the wake of unprecedented flooding in central and southwestern Louisiana.
The devastating flooding is among the most severe weather disasters since Hurricane Sandy. Across the region, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, thousands of homes damaged, and at least eleven people killed.
Today the Obama administration is planning to sell off an area the size of Virginia for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. To add insult to injury, the auction is set to take place in the New Orleans Superdome, the site of one of the most visible and tragic instances of climate injustice in recent history. Climate science tells us that burning more fossil fuels will only lead to more severe weather events like this one. In the midst of this disaster, moving forward with this auction is unconscionable.
“This week, I’ve watched heavy rains pour down on my community and my own home sink into rising waters,” said Cherri Foytlin, Gulf Coast mother of six and State Director of Bold Louisiana, whose home was among the 40,000 that flooded this week. “President Obama cannot visit victims of this climate emergency one day and then allow his administration to auction off our beloved Gulf Coast the next. The time for business as usual is over. President Obama must keep fossil fuels in the ground and stop treating the Gulf Coast like a sacrifice zone.”
The petitions are being delivered to the Department of Interior as part of a series of actions at the national and local level calling for climate justice and an end to new federal fossil fuel leasing.”
The petition effort was coordinated by: 350.org, CREDO, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, MoveOn.org Civic Action, Oil Change International, Endangered Species Coalition, Bold Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Rainforest Action Network, Earthworks, and Greenpeace. The petition effort is meant to build on the leadership of local groups in the Gulf Coast, including the No New Leases Coalition, 350 Louisiana, Bold Louisiana, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Radical Arts and Healing Collective, STEPS Coalition, Earth Ethics, and Operation Homecare.
Groups will continue to call on the Obama administration to remove the Gulf from its five-year offshore drilling plan, which will come out in its final form in December.