RCC’s President in leading scientists’
letter to Biden

RCC President and CEO Dr. Robert K. Musil has joined over 100 prominent scientists in a formal letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland opposing proposed leases to open up coastal areas to offshore oil drilling. Musil, and other signatories organized by the non-profit, Oceana, stressed the harm to marine mammals and ecosystems, but especially the environmental justice impacts of such drilling which is often located near and disproportionately harmful to communities of color. Musil and co-signers cited in detail the multiple, undeniable environmental ramifications of offshore oil and gas drilling, including its contribution to our already changing climate through greenhouse gas emissions, the high likelihood of oil spills with the potential to destroy marine ecosystems, and the chronic local pollution wrought by the infrastructure of drilling operations, even when there is no spillage.

The Rachel Carson Council (RCC) had already called on its members to write directly to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) official Kelly Hammerle and express their disapproval for any new offshore oil and gas leasing in the Department of Interior’s 2023-2028 National Outercontinental Shelf Leasing Program. In addition to over 130 extensive public comments by its members, the RCC also submitted its own formal public comment to the BOEM. The RCC also organized a rally with the #ProtectOurCoast coalition outside the White House, demonstrating to President Biden before the public comment period ends, that environmental groups share a strong consensus: #NoNewLeases should be approved in the 2023-2028 program if there is to be any serious chance at halving U.S. national greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — as President Biden has pledged — in order to prevent irreparable harm to our climate and environment.

About the proposed drilling program, Dr. Musil, an environmental health scientist, founder of the RCC Coasts and Ocean Program, and the author of Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future (Rutgers University Press) said,

At less than eight years away from President Biden’s ambitious 2030 deadline to halve national emissions compared to 2005 levels, we are at a “now or never” moment in our national reckoning with the climate crisis. The Department of Interior’s proposed Outercontinental Shelf Leasing Program needs to reflect the urgency of our climate goals and abandon investments in the fossil fuel industry’s dirty agenda—that means sanctioning no new oil and gas leases in the proposed program.

The Department of Interior is expected to release their finalized program, complete with input from the public, in the coming months. No matter their decision, environmental groups like the Rachel Carson Council and its members and advocates have been loud and clear: oil and gas must be a thing of the past.