Of course, there were also a fair number of speakers who expressed support for new drilling, denied the existence of climate change, or both. Several drilling supporters shared that they were with an organization called “Energy Citizens”, a group funded by the American Petroleum Institute, and their talking points were almost identical to those of many other supporters.
“We have stood up time and time again to say no to leasing oil and gas in our waters. Our lands and waters were forever altered by the Exxon Valdez spill. Every oil spill starts with a lease sale, and that’s not the story I want to tell future generations. – Taylor Kendall Smith of Homer Alaska and Cook Inletkeeper
“There should be no new leases. The oil hit my beach long after the cleanup stopped. We have lost our community and our way of life. After the BP disaster I was surfing in what was supposed to be clean water. I developed rashes, lesions, coughed up blood on contact with the dispersants..-Michael Sturdevant of Florida
“I call on BOEM to follow the frontline communities and not include any new leases in the 5 year plan. What is at stake is our home and our lives. We don’t have time to continue drilling for oil and gas. As many have mentioned, frontline communities are feeling the worst impacts of the climate crisis. The oil and gas industry does not clean up after itself. – Grace Trefflinger of New Orleans and climate justice organizer
“Families rely on a clean and healthy gulf for their way of life. The onshore impacts of offshore drilling are very real for Biloxi, Los Angeles, and similar communities. The social cost of oil and gas development is astronomical. The Gulf can no longer be a sacrifice zone for the oil and gas industry. – Dustin Renaud, from New Orleans, and director of communications at Healthy Gulf
“We are following requests from the front lines that there are no new oil and gas leases. More leases means more pain for communities of color.-Carlos Ochoa, Washington DC, and Head of National Policy at Azul
“As a brand new father who loves this place I live in and trying to imagine a life for my child and his children. This future is becoming harder to imagine and harder to see due to the continued degradation of oil and gas infrastructure..” – Peter Robbins Brown of New Orleans
“The science is clear, the urgency is clear. The desperation with which we must ask is clear. The only thing I try to hold back is despair. We can’t kick the street. NO new lease. America must lead. – Caroline Lewis of Miami
“Can you imagine a world where we end offshore drilling? It can really happen if only we make it this way– Reverend Ray Jordan
“Don’t leave us stuck in the past… Going green… it’s possible. Today. But we cannot afford any mistakes and, quite simply, new offshore drilling leases would be a mistake.” Los Angeles Waterkeeper’s Barak Kamelgard
“When will we learn that we are killing mother earth?– Deandra Sanchez, Indigenous Peoples of Coastal Bend
“I strongly believe that anything but a complete halt to new oil and gas drilling is inherently opposed to addressing climate change. This administration has the power to steer us away from fossil fuel development and its devastating consequences. Will you please protect my family and countless others in my community by pledging not to release any new offshore leases for oil and gas drilling?“ – Julianna Garreffa of New Jersey
“I am a climate migrant. Having moved from Charleston, SC to Greenville, SC last year to avoid having to evacuate further hurricanes. The evacuation was extremely stressful, scary, disruptive and expensive! And when you talk about expenses and saving, I’ve read that hundreds of billions of dollars will cost the United States from heat waves, wildfires and rising sea levels, floods and droughts that we are currently experiencing. It is truly immoral and unfair to allow fossil fuel companies to continue destroying communities, businesses and our environment.” Lisa Scharin from North Carolina
With nearly 150 speakers, the quotes above are just a taste of the powerful testimony provided. If you also want to talk, join us in taking action by demanding a five-year program with no new offshore oil and gas leases.
Right now, we need the Biden administration to focus on creating a just and fair transition to clean energy with well-paying jobs that won’t harm people or threaten future generations — without give the fossil fuel industry more of our ocean for drilling.