On March 23rd, Mississippi Gulf Coast residents joined hundreds from across the region from Texas to Florida to oppose the sale of 43 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore drilling as part of a national effort to call for a just transition toward clean energy. The movement has had significant victories, including the recent win by Atlantic coast residents to protect their shore and the postponing of oil and gas auctions in Utah, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Washington D.C.
Steps Coalition organized to bring Mississippi residents, including eleven youth to participate in this historic event. Over 300 people from across the region surrounded the Superdome in New Orleans where the lease auction was being held carrying large banners and giant puppets and chanting things like "What's the solution to the pollution? Keep it the ground!" More than hundred citizens entered the Superdome to disrupt the auction sending a clear message to the oil and gas industry and decision makers that the citizens of the Gulf will Stand Up and Fight Back!
This action is the first of many to come as people across the region who are tired of being the sacrifice zone for the sake of profits especially at a time when a clean energy economy is possible. Environmental organizations, community groups, activists, and concerned citizens are calling for a just transition that starts with stopping the sale of all new leases and the immediate hiring of workers to repair failing oil and gas infrastructure. There have been 40 large oil spills (greater than 42,000 gallons) since 1964, but smaller spills occur on a daily basis. In the past 45 years, BOEM estimates that more than 500,000 barrels of oil have leaked, unreported, into American waters.
The Obama administration recently unveiled a plan that takes the Atlantic out of the next five year offshore drilling plan leaving the Gulf and the Arctic open to dirty and dangerous fossil fuel extraction projects. There are currently 5,000 active federal oil and gas leases, the majority are in the Gulf. The President's plan for the next five years includes auction off new sections of the Gulf. Citizens now have an opportunity to tell the Obama Administration to stop the sale of new leases permanently during the current public comment period for the Oil and Gas Leasing Program. Click here to leave your comment in support of ending oil and gas drilling.
Click here to read the letter to Obama requesting to cancel the March 23rd auction
Check out the media coverage of the historic call to end drilling in the Gulf!