Dear Secretary Zinke and Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management,
On Thursday, January 4th, your Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (2019-2024 Program or Program) announced a significant policy shift allowing oil and gas drilling as close as 3 miles to shore along the entirety of the coast of the lower 48 states including the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific. This new drilling plan makes 90% of the nation’s waters available for oil companies to drill. As residents of the Gulf of Mexico, where we have experienced way too many catastrophic disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the BP oil disaster, as well as daily oil spills and all-too-regular fossil fuel related accidents, we are compelled to write this letter urging you to rethink this deeply misguided direction for the country’s energy policy.
In this moment, we have an unprecedented opportunity to transition our country towards clean energy – where we are currently seeing the highest levels of economic growth, fiscal health, and success – and away from the use of fossil fuels, which are finite, limited, and failing industries. If BOEM and the current administration’s aim is to move from “simply aspiring to energy independence to attaining energy dominance” as stated in the proposed plan, it is of critical importance to shift the balance of investment from decaying, aging, and obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure and processes to new, growing, and innovative sustainable technologies.
Instead of moving in the direction as the rest of the world in pursuing a just and vibrant future, this plan will take us backwards – continuing to exploit our planet and our people, sacrificing the long-term future of all for the short term and immediate profit and gains of a tiny fraction of corporations and shareholders.
We respectfully ask that you rethink the entire current draft proposed five year program for offshore drilling. We must be stewards of the environment, and protect our natural resources. We must be humanitarians, and protect our people from the negative and harmful impacts of oil and gas exploration and drilling, including seismic testing. Your jobs are to represent all constituents, not just the elite and privileged few. Please immediately retract the draft proposed five year program for offshore drilling, further putting our waters at risk for disaster and continuing our path down the dead-end street of fossil fuels.
We are a collaborative of indigenous, latinx, and desi Gulf Coast women working alongside local, grassroots, and national allies in support of a transition away from extraction in this region and towards a just, sustainable, and vibrant future. We have been working in concerted effort together since our region suffered from one of the country’s largest environmental disaster as a direct result of offshore drilling, Deepwater Horizon. We do not want to see this kind of disaster ever again off our shores, or anyone else’s. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to change the course we are on for the survival of our people and our planet after seeing what happened here, in our home waters.
If “the policy of the United States” is “to maintain the Nation’s position as a global energy leader and foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible”, BOEM’s current plan takes the country in the opposite direction from this stated purpose by relying on fossil fuels and related exploration that further imperil the planet and its people.
We have an opportunity to change our trajectory towards an environmentally sustainable and economically vibrant future. We can start right now by stopping any further development of oil and gas infrastructure off of our coastlines.
Please stand with us for the future of our planet and generations to come.
Retract the current plan proposing opening up our waters for exploitation, greed, and profit.
L’Eau Est La Vie. Agua Es Vida. জল জীবন. Water Is Life.
Jayeesha Dutta, Cherri Foytlin, Mary Gutierrez, Bekah Hinojosa, Yudith Nieto & Monique Verdin
“Many Shades of Brown” Leadership Circle, Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative
To sign on to this letter by February 28th, 2018, please use the link below.