Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

The offshore drilling tracts President Donald Trump had planned to auction off have proved less popular than he imagined, with only about one percent of the leases selling. (Photo: JournoJen/Flickr/cc)

'Belly Flop': With Only One Percent of Leases Sold, Even Fossil Fuel Industry Understands Trump's Offshore Drilling Plan Is Ridiculous

"Even corporate polluters aren't buying what Zinke's selling."

Julia Conley

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.


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.

New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·


Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


With SCOTUS Set to Hear Abortion Case, Anti-Choice Groups Prepare to Enact 'Post-Roe Strategy'

Right-wing groups are lobbying lawmakers to pass state-level restrictions and ban sales of abortion pills, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Julia Conley ·


As Executives Hike Prices, US Corporations Rake in Biggest Profits Since 1950

"Prices are high," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, "because corporations are raising them—so they can keep paying themselves with ever-larger executive bonuses and stock buybacks."

Jake Johnson ·


Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo