May 17, 2016

David Turnbull, david [at] priceofoil [dot] org

White House Responds to Keep It In the Ground Petition
Response shows pressure is mounting to end fossil fuel development on public lands

On Monday evening the White House posted a response to a petition that garnered over 100,000 signatures, which called on the President to halt “all new drilling, fracking, and mining on public lands and waters.”

In the response, the White House points to public comment periods for plans for the next round of offshore drilling as well as the federal coal leasing program. The White House also highlights the US-Canada statement on protecting the Arctic – in which it commits to considering the climate implications of drilling in the Arctic – as a key touchstone for considering future Arctic drilling.

In reaction to the White House’s response, David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International said:

“That the White House was forced to officially respond to this petition is yet another indication of the growing power of the Keep It In The Ground movement. This response comes a day after more than 1,000 people marched against offshore drilling on the White House’s doorstep, and just days after thousands of others took bold direct action as part of ‘Break Free’ events across the United States and the globe. It’s clear our voices are being heard.

“It’s great that the White House is paying attention to the public offshore drilling and coal leasing comment periods, but what will be even better is when they take heed of the thousands upon thousands of Americans who are calling for no new leases on public lands. By the end of the comment periods, their voices will be deafening, and we look forward to President Obama heeding that call.

“The White House’s effort to highlight concerns around Arctic drilling is important. Arctic drilling must be off the table if we are going to be serious about meeting our climate goals. Drilling for oil in the Arctic fails any reasonable climate test.

“No one is saying we we will be off fossil fuels tomorrow. But the simple fact is that we must keep the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves in the ground to tackle the climate crisis. This certainly means no new offshore drilling and no new leases for any fossil fuels on our public lands and waters. Indeed our demand is to end future lease sales and to spur a just transition off of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The rapid uptake of renewable energy and new transportation options, coupled with a growing movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground, means we are growing closer by the day to the end of fossil fuels.”

For background on why Arctic Drilling fails the climate test, see:

For background on the climate implications of the 5 year offshore drilling program, see:

For more information on the Climate Test, see:

For more about the ‘Break Free’ events, see:


  • Is there a way the petition count can be admitted to the record during the official comment period?

  • Did the “White House” issue any statements about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?

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