The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Progressives Call On Biden To Ban Gulf Coast Drilling And Create Millions of Clean Energy Jobs

Florida native Genai Lewis recounts Deepwater Horizon oil spill and supercharged hurricanes in new documentary.


On Wednesday, President Biden is expected to sign an executive order to combat climate change domestically and elevate the issue as a national security priority.

Justice Democrats are calling on President Joe Biden to end the era of fossil fuels and begin the decade of the Green New Deal. President Biden has already suspended new oil and gas leasing for 60 days.

"With unified control of Congress and the White House, President Biden and the Democrats have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to prevent catastrophic warming," said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats. "The bare minimum is permanently halting new fossil fuel infrastructure on public lands and water that our government owns. Then the real work begins: creating millions of union jobs as we transition our economy to 100% clean and renewable energy, as fast as possible."

For nearly a decade, leading environmentalists and energy analysts have warned that keeping average global warming "well below" 2 degrees Celsius requires leaving the majority of known coal, oil, and gas reserves in the ground. To meet this goal, the United States must stop selling off federal land and waters to fossil fuel development.

In the second installment of a "Decade of the Green New Deal" docu-series, co-produced by Organize for Justice, a sister organization of Justice Democrats, and the Sunrise Movement, Sunrise organizer and Florida native Genai Lewis recounts how a decade of disasters, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to supercharged hurricane seasons, have gutted once-thriving fishing villages like Carabelle, FL. Genai envisions a Gulf Coast after the Green New Deal, free of the pollution from oil drilling and overflowing with the oysters that sustained her village for centuries.

"There are no more oysters, our oceans are dying. The fossil fuel industry is an existential threat to Florida. We need a Green New Deal that invests in healing our water, and the people who make a living from it," Genai Lewis says in the video. "That can only happen if we stop the drilling and the fracking and the pipelines that threaten us.

During the Obama Presidency, a growing climate movement demanded the federal government keep fossil fuels in the ground by canceling dangerous projects like Keystone XL pipeline and freezing new fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters. Obama ultimately rejected the KXL pipeline, banned drilling in wide swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic, but continued to lease federal waters in the Gulf.

With a Green New Deal, Lewis says, "we can go back out there and have oysters spilling over the sides of people's boats... Joe Biden, for my community, for Carabelle, for the Gulf South: pass a Green New Deal."

Justice Democrats is recruiting and supporting progressive Democrats all over the country, starting with Congress. We're working to transform the Democratic Party while building independent power. We do this by running primary challengers against out-of-touch Democratic incumbents and organizing to hold the party accountable to our issues.

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