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For Immediate Release
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DOT Should Consider Climate Impacts of Proposed Offshore Export Terminals

Today 130 organizations are calling on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to require his agencies to consider the impacts offshore oil and liquefied methane gas (LNG) export terminals will have on the climate when reviewing their applications.

The letter comes as the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) finalizes best practices for federal agencies to use when evaluating greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts of projects proposed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Secretary of Transportation can direct the Maritime Administration to apply draft guidelines released earlier this year to six deepwater port applications off the coast of Texas and Louisiana — GulfLink, Blue Marlin, Bluewater, New Fortress Energy Louisiana FLNG, West Delta LNG, and Grand Isle LNG.

“If the Department of Transportation approves another mega-polluting offshore export terminal, it will push the world closer to climate catastrophe,” said Kelsey Crane, Senior Policy Advocate at Earthworks. “This administration’s continued expansion of fossil fuels contradicts the promises Biden made to all of us when he said he would tackle the climate crisis.”

Building and investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure like offshore terminals locks in decades of new sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The federal government approved Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) last year, the largest oil export terminal in the U.S that will have the capacity of a quarter of all the oil the U.S. currently exports each day. Combined, the four proposed oil terminals would emit three times what the U.S. emits each year.

“Coastal communities in Texas are already worried about our poor public health and hurricanes, yet this administration is pushing to increase these risks,” said Melanie Oldham, Founder and Director of Better Brazoria. “We have shown adamant opposition to more export terminals but no one is listening. Biden and his agencies must address our concerns about air pollution and the effects of greenhouse gasses before it's too late.”

Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that building new fossil fuel infrastructure would make it more difficult to limit warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, and would lock-in high GHG emissions for decades. If the Biden administration goes forward with these six projects, not only would it derail the country’s climate goals, but ensure that the rest of the world suffers the same fate.

“Amidst the challenges posed by rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms, the approval of new offshore oil and gas export terminals compounds our climate crisis and significantly affects communities,” said James Hiatt, Director of For a Better Bayou. “It is crucial for agencies like DOT and MARAD to adhere to CEQ's GHG guidance, meaningfully evaluating greenhouse gas emissions during their reviews. These terminals would contribute massive releases of these harmful gases, and are completely incompatible with our collective best interests.”

“The Department of Transportation must carefully evaluate the impact that offshore oil and LNG terminals have on the Gulf Coast and on the climate as a whole,” said Roishetta Sibley Ozane, Founder of Vessel Project of Louisiana. “We cannot overlook these consequences in the face of the climate crisis. It is time to prioritize the long-term well-being of our environment and communities over short-term gains. Our children’s future depends on it.”

For additional quotes from letter signers, click here.

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions.

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