Oceana says comment now on proposed lease sales

When President Joe Biden was campaigning two years ago, one of the many promises he made was that there would be no new oil drilling leases granted.

Then, on July 1, the Department of the Interior and the Office of Ocean Energy Management released a five-year plan – covering the period 2023-28 proposing the possibility of awarding a new offshore lease. Alaska and up to 10 new leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

These 10 possible charter locations are all in the mid-west part of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Texas or Louisiana.

Earlier: Advocacy group urges Floridians to oppose offshore drilling

And: Manatee County Focus Group Hears Offshore Drilling Case

But that’s still too close to Florida’s coastline, say officials from Oceana, an international organization that advocates for the protection of the oceans from pollution and other harm.

Austin Matheny-Kawesch, Communications Manager for Oceana’s Offshore Drilling Awareness Campaign, and Hunter Miller, Oceana’s Senior Field Representative and Lead Florida Attorney, conducted a virtual media barnstorming tour to raise awareness to the 90-day written comment period. for the proposed plan. The comment period ends Oct. 6, while the last opportunity for people to weigh in with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is during an online hearing from 5-8 p.m. EDT on Sept. 12.

“As a Floridian, the saga of drilling off our coast has been going on for years. It’s something that keeps coming up,” said Miller, a sixth-generation Floridian who has worked with groups and elected officials before. in Sarasota and Manatee counties to raise awareness of the potential damage from offshore drilling.

“We are at a rather critical moment for the future of the protection of our coasts.

The potential falls can be summed up in two words – Deepwater Horizon – the April 2010 disaster that occurred 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana that polluted the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and affected hundreds of miles of shoreline.

Miller offered three reasons why Florida residents, business owners and elected officials should weigh in against the latest lease expansion plan:

Gulf oil spills threaten Florida’s economy. “The biggest example would be the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster,” Miller said. “This spill did not respect state lines, it happened more than 100 miles from our shores and we still saw impacts in the Panhandle.

“Although there is no oil on many Florida Gulf Coast beaches, it has still had a major negative impact on Florida’s beleaguered coastal tourism industry.”

Miller also argues that it takes a decade or more for new drilling to come into production and impact iol supply, and said large areas are already leased but not being drilled.

“Florida and Sarasota are on the front lines of climate change,” Miller said. “We don’t want to invest more money and time in new offshore drilling…especially when we’re trying to address climate change, which threatens our infrastructure and our way of life here in Florida.”

How to comment

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will accept oral testimony via Zoom from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on September 12.

Each participant will have up to two minutes to speak and a court reporter will record these comments for the public record.

Registration is strongly recommended. To register, visit: https://kearnswest.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1FXGr4cBQhuVfHKTb04_8Q.

Written comments will be accepted until October 6th.

For more information on how to submit them online, visit https://bit.ly/3RWncO9 and click on the “How to Comment” tab.

Comments may also be sent by post or delivery service. Envelopes should be labeled “Comments for Proposed National Oil and Gas Leasing Program OCS 2023-2028”. and sent to Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Manager, OCS National Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch

Leasing Division, Office of Strategic Resources, Office of Ocean Energy Management (VAM-LD), 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166-9216.

Earle Kimel primarily covers southern Sarasota County for the Herald-Tribune and can be reached at [email protected] Support local journalism with a digital subscription to the Herald-Tribune.

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