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One of the gravest threats to our oceans and our planet is a changing climate. Unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are warming the planet and disrupting weather patterns, leading to flooding, melting ice, rising seas, droughts and the devastation of ecosystems on land and at sea. Offshore oil drilling is a sizable contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, and an underreported generator of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Additionally, offshore drilling for oil and gas threatens marine life and ecosystems due to the constant threat of oil well blowouts. An Oceana report showed that at least 7,000 oil spills occurred in U.S. waters between 2007 and 2018. Despite their frequency, clean-up methods are generally ineffective and have remained largely unchanged since the late 1980s. This means that oceans and marine wildlife are no safer than they were when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, unleashing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
Offshore drilling puts vibrant ocean ecosystems and critical marine life at risk and worsens climate change. President Biden paused all new offshore oil and gas lease sales—a great first step—but far greater action is required immediately. With sea levels rising and devastating extreme weather accelerating, permanent offshore drilling protections are crucial for the future of our clean coast economy and addressing the climate crisis. Our leaders must end new leasing for offshore drilling in the reconciliation bill. Our oceans need action NOW.
We are working to prevent the expansion of offshore drilling in the United States. You can help protect our vibrant oceans and marine life with Oceana right now.