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How Obama's Oil and Gas Leases are Harming Marine Life, Environment

Aug 25, 2016 04:40 AM EDT
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President Barack Obama's administration is coming under fire for the decision to expand offshore oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. As the effects of the oil industry on the environment and wildlife are revealed, environmental groups and activists call out the inconsistency of the president's ruling with his climate change agenda.

"We can't address climate change while expanding drilling the Gulf," Kristen Monsell, oceans attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, pointed out in a report from Common Dreams. "This report shows that new oil and gas leasing in the Gulf would be a carbon bomb that will deepen our climate crisis. President Obama needs to align his energy and climate policies before leaving office, starting in the Gulf."

Oil and Gas Drilling Result to Atmosphere Pollution

To be more specific, burning fossil fuels in the unleased waters are expected to release 32.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to a new analysis by EcoShift Consulting and a coalition of conservation and community-based groups, this number is the pollution equivalent of running 9,500 coal-fired power plants for a year.

The analysis comes in the report called Critical Gulf: The Vital Importance of Ending Fossil Fuel Leasing in the Gulf of Mexico, where a number of groups listed the devastating environmental, racial and social impact of the leasing on Gulf communities.

According to the report, developing all of Gulf of Mexico's fossil fuel resources is expected to nearly double the greenhouse gas pollution of all fossil fuels already under federal leases.

Dolphins and Whales are in Danger

A report from The Guardian revealed that oil and gas exploration is also harmful to marine creatures, particularly to bottlenose dolphins, fin, humpback and sperm whales who all live in the waters that have been cleared as suitable for seismic airgun testing.

The practice, which is employed to find oil under the seabed, has been found to disturb dolphins and whales' ability to communicate and find food. Data from environmental group Oceana and Duke University showed that airgun blasting the proposed area could harm as much as 138,000 whales and dolphins.

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