Reinstatement of Offshore Drilling Leases Threatens Gulf Coast Communities


Washington, DC – The Department of the Interior has announced that it will reinstate leases for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The leases were invalidated by the DC District Court earlier this year because the court found that Interior failed to accurately disclose and consider the greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the lease sale. That decision is on appeal in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Interior was required to reinstate the leases as a result of provisions inserted into the Inflation Reduction Act by Senator Joe Manchin. BOEM must still comply with environmental statutes and regulations to ensure fossil fuel leasing proceeds in a manner that protects sensitive ecosystems, species and public health. A separate deal negotiated between Manchin and Senate leadership would gut critical environmental protections, paving the way for even more leasing and fossil fuel infrastructure. 

“Gulf Coast communities have been treated as a fossil fuel sacrifice zone for far too long, and allowing for more offshore drilling in the Gulf will only exacerbate the harm to public health and safety in these communities, as well as worsening the climate crisis,” said Sierra Club Deputy Legislative Director Mahyar Sorour. “We will continue to explore every available avenue to stop harmful offshore drilling in the Gulf, including by fighting the dangerous polluter side deal currently being discussed in Congress.”

“The people of Texas and our neighbors along the Gulf Coast know that more offshore drilling only means more profits for big corporations and more spills, more refinery pollution and fires in working class communities of color,” said Dave Cortez, Director of Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter. ““These lease sales perpetuate a trend of placing the burden of fossil fuel development on coastal communities in Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf Coast. We encourage every person concerned about the climate crisis to organize their families and neighbors to contact members of congress and demand an end to sacrificing our communities in exchange for polluter profits.”

"This enormous sale is incredibly distressing, because this is only the beginning. Environmental organizations and our political leaders, local and federal, must keep their word and invest in Gulf Coast communities through both legal strategy and community organizing to protect us from more harm from the oil and gas industry. BOEM has affirmed that we are in the chopping block. We need mass efforts to take us off,” said Angelle Bradford, member of Sierra Club’s Delta Chapter’s Executive Committee.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit