Obama Cancels Offshore Oil Lease Sales in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Miyoko Sakashita, (415) 658-5308, miyoko@biologicaldiversity.org

Obama Cancels Offshore Oil Lease Sales in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

Feds Acknowledge Greater Environmental Protection Needed for Drilling

SAN FRANCISCO - The
Center
for Biological Diversity praised the Obama administration's announcement
today
that it is cancelling two offshore oil and gas lease sales: one in the
Atlantic
off the coast of Virginia and another in the
Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic lease sale was
part of a controversial area that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
approved for
expanded offshore oil development after the Bush administration lifted
the
moratorium on drilling in the Atlantic. The
Gulf of Mexico lease sale was scheduled to take
place in mid-August.

"Obama's

decision to cancel these lease sales recognizes that risky offshore
drilling
needs reform," said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center.
"Halting
controversial lease sales is among the most proactive steps that Obama
has taken
toward the Gulf disaster."

The
Federal Register notices to be published tomorrow cancel Lease
Sale 220
in the Atlantic and Lease Sale 215 in the western part of the Gulf of
Mexico.
The notices say cancelling these lease sales "will allow time to develop
and
implement measures to improve the safety of oil and gas development in
Federal
waters, provide greater environmental protection, and substantially
reduce the
risk of catastrophic events."

"Rather
than
sound science and common sense, federal approval of offshore drilling
has relied
upon Big Oil promises, " said Sakashita. "This commitment to revisit oil
spill
risks, safety and environmental protections is long overdue."

Just
weeks
before the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Department of the Interior
proposed
expanding offshore oil development into new areas of the Atlantic,
Arctic and
eastern Gulf of Mexico.  

"In
light of
the BP oil spill, President Obama should pull back from the entire plan
to
expand offshore drilling and instead pursue clean energy," added
Sakashita.

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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