President Biden Fails to Deliver on Promise to End New Offshore Drilling

United States to expand offshore drilling in Gulf of Mexico, putting communities and climate in jeopardy

Washington, Sept. 29, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- President Biden announced plans today to expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as part of his final proposed National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2023-2028. The new Five-Year Plan includes three new offshore oil and gas leases, covering an area that stretches from Texas to the Florida Panhandle.  

Oceana’s Vice President for the United States, Beth Lowell, condemned the new leasing program and criticized President Biden for failing to keep his promise to prevent new drilling in U.S. waters: 

“By failing to end new offshore drilling, President Biden missed an easy opportunity to do the right thing and deliver on climate for the American people. This decision is beyond disappointing, as Americans face the impacts of the growing climate crisis through more frequent and intense fires, droughts, hurricanes, and floods. President Biden is unfortunately showing the world that it’s okay to continue to prioritize polluters over real climate solutions. Expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling only exacerbates the climate catastrophe that is already at our doorstep. Unfortunately, it’s our coastal communities who will bear the immediate impact of this shortsighted decision.”  

The Five-Year Plan is expected to be approved in December by Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, following a statutory 60-day review period by Congress.  

In a 2020 presidential debate, then-Senator Joe Biden told Americans, “I can guarantee you if I am president, there will be no offshore drilling.” 

Despite that vow, the Biden administration will now expand offshore oil and gas development with three proposed lease sales scheduled in 2025, 2027, and 2029. The leases offer federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, a region Oceana says has already been overburdened by the devastating impacts of offshore drilling. 

“Every new drilling lease is a disaster waiting to happen,” Lowell said. “We know when companies drill, they spill, and offshore disasters impact communities, people, and businesses who rely upon a healthy ocean. Offshore drilling also fuels the climate crisis that will impact every single person living in the United States, but it will be low-income and marginalized groups who are disproportionately impacted. We can’t accept the consequences from President Biden’s failure to act. Congress must immediately reject this proposal during the review period and prevent all new leases on federal waters.”   

A 2021 analysis by Oceana found that protecting all unleased federal waters from offshore drilling in the United States could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is the equivalent of taking every car in the nation off the road for 15 years. Ending new leasing could have also prevented more than $720 billion in damage to people, property, and the environment.  

The three new leases will add to the more than 2,000 leases the oil industry already holds, according to a recent Oceana report. That totals more than 11 million acres of ocean, with 75% of those acres currently sitting unused.  

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling in the United States, 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-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 275 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more. 


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