Aug 15, 2018
In yet another rebuke to the Trump administration's claims that opening wide swaths of the ocean to the ravages off fossil fuel production is wise or necessary, an auction for more than 14,000 offshore drilling leases on Wednesday received little enthusiasm from oil and gas companies.
The Interior Department managed to sell fewer than one percent of the tracts, making the auction even less successful than its last sale in March, when just over one percent of leases went to buyers.
The sale will bring in $180 million, but with offers from only 30 companies, climate action groups took the largely failed auction as a sign that there is an end in sight for the destructive method of oil extraction, as progressive leaders call for a shift to renewable energy sources.
"When will Ryan Zinke finally get the message that it's time to scrap his reckless offshore drilling plans?" Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club's land protection program, said in a statement. "Millions of Americans and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have made it clear that the public does not want dangerous drilling off our coasts, and even corporate polluters aren't buying what Zinke's selling."
Lawmakers and green groups in coastal states have spoken out against President Donald Trump's plan to open U.S. waters to offshore drilling, a practice that has been blamed for dangerous oil spills that have decimated coastal areas and killed marine wildlife, as well as contributing to the climate crisis.
Sixty percent of Americans polled by Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland earlier this year opposed Trump's plan, and 70 percent said states should have the right to refuse drilling off their shores.
Earlier this week, more than 60 cities and counties in California announced their official opposition to drilling off the state's coasts.
"California communities reject offshore drilling and are building a wall of opposition to Trump's reckless agenda," said Blake Kopcho, an organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). "We won't let Trump and his corrupt cronies pollute our coastline with oil spills and toxic fracking chemicals."
The leases sold in Wednesday's auction are in the Gulf of Mexico. The CBD joined other green groups in applauding the Trump administration's failure to sell more leases to corporate polluters--but noted that even the 144 tracts the Interior Department auctioned off have the capacity to damage wildlife habitats and endanger lives as companies extract oil and gas.
\u201cOil industry isn't nearly as excited to drastically expand offshore drilling as the Trump administration is. That's good, but 144 new leases will still deepen our oil dependency and pollute Gulf wildlife that this administration refuses to study. https://t.co/nH70hQjlyS\u201d— Ctr4BioDiv Ocean (@Ctr4BioDiv Ocean) 1534356918
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.