A coalition of climate and advocacy groups on Friday called on the Obama administration to cancel an upcoming fossil fuel auction as Louisiana reels from the unprecedented floods that have ravaged the state—and which rescue groups have described as the worst U.S. disaster since Superstorm Sandy.
The organizations, including 350.org, CREDO, and Greenpeace, circulated a petition imploring President Barack Obama to call off the planned August 24 offshore drilling lease auction for a portion of the Gulf of Mexico "the size of Virginia." The auction is set to take place in the New Orleans Superdome, which became an infamous symbol of climate injustice and bureaucratic callousness when Hurricane Katrina victims were forced to take shelter there in 2005.
In the wake of the flooding, the groups said, allowing any more fossil fuel extraction—and in turn, facilitating the release of more climate-changing greenhouse gases—would be "unconscionable."
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"My heart is filled with both a deep sadness and deep anger—at the fossil fuel companies driving this ongoing crisis, and at an administration that continues to sell them the right to do so," said Cherri Foytlin, a Gulf Coast mother of six and state director of the grassroots climate group Bold Louisiana.
Foytlin's home was one of the 40,000 that flooded in the disaster.
"The fact that this fossil fuel 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—is nothing short of insulting. Allowing next week's fossil fuel auction to move forward is rubbing salt in the wounds of a region already in a state of emergency," Foytlin said.
Hundreds of activists are also planning to march in New Orleans on Saturday to protest the auction and the administration's continued sacrificing of the Gulf Coast to the fossil fuel industry.