November 16, 2016

CONTACT: Janet Redman, U.S. Policy Director, Oil Change International, janet [at]

Obama Scores A for Arctic and Atlantic Protection – Fails to Fight for Gulf

(WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18, 2016) – Today the Obama Administration once again demonstrated climate leadership by taking the Arctic Ocean off the table in its five-year offshore oil and gas drilling plan. The move was a logical next step from the exclusion of Atlantic waters announced earlier this year.

In response, Janet Redman, U.S. Policy Director for Oil Change International, released the following statement:

“Today, President Obama put offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic through a climate test, and it failed. This is a victory for Alaska Native residents and coastal communities demanding protection of their cultural rights and economic livelihoods. It is further evidence that courageous citizen action is more powerful than oil and gas company interests.

Before he leaves office, President Obama can do more to safeguard coastal resources – especially in the Gulf of Mexico – from fossil fuel industry attack. For too long Gulf communities have been sacrifice zones for oil company profits. Gulf coast residents are due public support a just transition to an environmentally sustainable and economically viable future.

But even bolder moves are needed from the Obama Administration as we wade into the uncharted political waters of the next presidency. If the world is to have a likely chance of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees C, the United States cannot develop any new offshore oil and gas resources. Period.

President Obama can cement his climate legacy by permanently banning offshore drilling in all American waters including the Gulf of Mexico. And this Administration can use its final days to remove many of the more than $17 billion in government subsidies spent propping up fossil fuel production in the United States every year.

Obama’s next steps are clear – stop lining the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and bar offshore drilling expansion. Any less and he will fail his own climate test.“

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Oil Change International’s recent report, The Sky’s Limit, shows that potential emissions from oil, gas and coal resources already under development would take global warming beyond the 2C threshold agreed by world leaders. In other words, we must halt all new fossil fuel development. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

In an effort to align climate and energy policy, the Obama Administration called on all federal agencies to apply a climate test to fully account for the carbon emissions, climate impacts and costs imposed on the public from their actions.