Protesters call on Obama administration to stop offshore drilling

Environmental advocates gathered Tuesday for a small rally in downtown Washington to pressure the Obama administration over its 2017-22 offshore drilling programme.

The rally was organized by environmental groups in an effort to urge the Obama administration to exclude the Arctic region and the Gulf Coast of Mexico from the offshore drilling plan.

About 20 people chanted "No offshore drilling" and called for the Obama administration to "Keep it in the ground." 

The rally took place outside the venue where Obama administration officials were meeting to discuss the next five years of the offshore drilling programme.

US Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, said it was the responsibility of the current generation to prevent offshore drilling in the Arctic and Gulf Coast areas.

"We are the first generation to experience massive consequences of a warming planet and we are the last generation that can do something about it," Merkley said. "That's why we are out here and we're not going to stop, and we're going to work together for our future, for our children's future and our planet's future."

Last month, Obama reversed his original plan to allow oil and gas drilling off the south-east Atlantic coast due to pressure he faced from environmental groups and from the coastal communities, the New York Times reported.

The coastal communities of Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and the Outer Banks of North Carolina expressed concern last month over Obama's offshore drilling plan for their areas. Owners of 1,000 coastal businesses and 80 East Coast state legislators also expressed their concern over the programme in written letters to Obama, the Times said.

The rally was organized by the Sierra Club, the Hip Hop Caucus, Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth US and 350.org.

Last update: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 11:17
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