Big oil companies earn billions as society bears astronomical costs of drilling public land and water

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Public oil and gas development would trigger at least $22.95 trillion in damages, jeopardizing a viable future for communities and the planet

WASHINGTON – Today, Friends of the Earth published a new analysis expose the true social cost of carbon if the Biden administration continues to allow Big Oil to drill in our public lands and waters. This comes as the administration announcement last week it would publish a new five-year plan for offshore drilling before June 30, when the current program expires, and is preparing to hold its first onshore rental sales next month.

The analysis used both the Biden administration social cost of carbon of $51/metric ton and a preservative metric $100/metric ton, although most estimates are much higher, to find:

  • In 2021, public oil and gas development costs society between $23.4 billion and $46 billionfar exceeding the $9.6 billion in tax revenue.
  • Current onshore and offshore public leases would cost the company between $2.19 trillion and $4.3 trillion so developed.
  • Potential development of oil and gas at the federal level would cost the company between $22.95 trillion and $45 trillion so developed.


Although the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Ocean Industry Association (NOIA)
warned that any delay in the Biden administration’s new five-year offshore leasing plan would have dire economic consequences, based on their own numbers:

  • A new five-year offshore leasing plan would cost the company between $20.8 billion and $40.8 billion per year and leads to 2.6 to 5 times more annual social charges than projected revenues for state and local governments.


“Biden needs to take off his oil-tinted glasses and start treating oil and gas development with the extreme caution it deserves,”
said Hallie Templeton, legal director of Friends of the Earth. “Our mere survival should not come after Big Oil’s profits. If the administration is serious about averting the worst of the climate catastrophe, the only way forward is with no new leases.

The social cost of carbon is used to estimate the economic damages of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The development of fossil fuels not only costs society trillions in the form of air and water pollution, climate change and other environmental degradation, but is also associated with public health issues such as cancer, asthma and temperature-related problems. death.

Communication contacts: Brittany Miller, (202) 222-0746, [email protected]

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