By Eric Wolff
BIG PROTEST IN THE BIG EASY AS ENVIROS TARGET THE GULF: President Barack Obama scrapped plans to allow offshore drilling in the Atlantic last week, which leaves climate activists to shift their focus to the Gulf — and they’ll mark a big step in that direction this morning in New Orleans, with a planned march to the Superdome. The marchers hope to spoil a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management offshore lease sale happening there.The action by several Gulf groups was organized by Rainforest Action Network, and supported by 350.org, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Details on the sale: The Superdome event technically includes two blocks of acreage, but BOEM said Tuesday that it only received offers for one of two planned sales, totaling more than 44 million acres. The Interior Department’s assistant secretary for land and minerals management, Janice Schneider, will be on hand to read winning bids starting at 10 a.m. eastern time.
McKibben to Obama: Fracking is the real enemy: Speaking of 350.org, co-founder Bill McKibben has a new piece out in The Nation today that attempts to deliver a reality check to Obama administration officials riding high on their carbon battling accomplishments and their plans to crack down on oil- and gas-related methane emissions. “Carbon dioxide is driving the great warming of the planet, but CO2 isn’t doing it alone. It’s time to take methane seriously,” he writes. While EPA has focused on forcing the industry to modernize its infrastructure, McKibben writes, it’s ignoring the “core problem, which is the rapid spread of fracking.”
Big day for public-lands drilling fans: While activists clamor for Obama and his successor to halt further offshore development in the Gulf, the Bureau of Land Management will face its Republican critics this morning at a House Oversight & Government Reform hearing that focuses on onshore oil and gas leasing policies. BLM Director Neil Kornze is slated as the star witness for the hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. in 2247 Rayburn. Expect to hear plenty of harsh words from the GOP about BLM’s proposed methane regulations for onshore drillers, as well as the impact of the agency’s recent coal-leasing pause on the future of oil and gas development. In his prepared remarks, Kornze says, “Striking the right balance between these many competing interests and uses of the public lands means that the land management professionals of the BLM must make hard choices every day.”