By Timothy Cama
Four protesters were arrested in Louisiana on Tuesday when they refused to leave an office building housing the federal agency responsible for offshore drilling.
The activists were protesting Wednesday’s planned auction for offshore drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico, demanding to meet with President Obama to urge him to cancel the sale, The Associated Press reported.
About a dozen protesters went to the building outside New Orleans that houses the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s local offices. One protester was allowed inside to deliver a petition, but law enforcement officers blocked others from entering, the AP said.
The protest is part of a series of planned events opposing the auction.
It’s the first time the agency is closing the event to the public and instead streaming it live online, in part to thwart protesters and to protect federal employees and representatives of companies, it said.
The activists are using the recent flooding in Louisiana to bolster their case that more fossil fuel drilling will lead to more global warming and extreme weather.
“My heart is filled with both a deep sadness and deep anger — at the fossil fuel companies driving this ongoing crisis, and at an Administration that continues to sell them the right to do so,” Cherri Foytlin, director of Bold Louisiana, wrote in a letter to Obama that the group publicized.
“The fact that this fossil fuel auction is set to take place in the New Orleans Superdome — the site of one of the most visible and tragic instances of climate injustice in recent history — is nothing short of insulting,” she wrote, referring to Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana Bucket Brigade, one of the green groups in the protests, tweeted a photo Tuesday of the four protesters who were later arrested, carrying a banner that reads “President Obama: More Drilling = More Floods.”