Liberal Environmental Groups Cheer After Obama Bans Drilling

Liberal environmental activists got an early Christmas present when President Obama banned offshore drilling along large portions of the Arctic and East Coast in late December, and liberal nonprofit media are celebrating.

Initially Obama issued a five year ban on Arctic offshore drilling in November. But then in December, he declared a permanent ban by invoking “an obscure provision of a 1953 law” which allowed him to act “unilaterally,” The New York Times reported on Dec. 20, 2016. Since the decision, journalism and environmental groups funded by liberal, climate change crusaders have been taking a victory lap.

In a press release, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) praised Obama’s sweeping action that “addresses climate change and provides meaningful assurances to those whose fate is tied to the health and vitality of these publicly-owned waters.”

The NRDC has received millions of dollars from liberal foundations, including George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, Tom Steyer’s TomKat Charitable Trust, the Park Foundation, various Rockefeller groups, and others.

Other climate change groups also celebrated Obama’s decision.

In mid-November, just after Obama announced the five-year ban on drilling, Grist wrote, “Obama could still permanently protect the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. Here’s How.”

Grist pushed for a permanent drilling ban because “experts argue that the risks of offshore drilling are too high,” and that a ban is necessary to “prevent catastrophic climate change.”

Grist also cited liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s climate change group, NextGen Climate, which demanded a permanent ban on Arctic and Atlantic drilling.

“Americans across the country are already looking for ways to stand up to President-elect Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda, and in the coming weeks, NextGen Climate will call for additional action to protect our climate, create a more just society and push back against the incoming Trump Administration,” NextGen declared in mid November.

On Dec. 20, Steyer celebrated Obama’s ban on twitter:

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DeSmog Blog also celebrated Obama’s drilling ban “which came after years of pushing by environmental groups.” DeSmog furthermore attacked opposers of the ban as “deniers” and mouthpieces of big oil who “scoffed at” and were “bemoaning” the decision.  

350.org, founded by Bill McKibben, likewise celebrated, but pushed for Obama to obstruct drilling in even more places around the country.

InsideClimate News took a more critical approach in December, lamenting Obama’s “greatest strategic miscalculation;” his “lost opportunities” to push climate legislation. It nevertheless cited Obama’s recent ban, writing “As Obama prepares to give way to a successor who promises to snuff out his climate legacy, he seems to be trying to make that as difficult as possible.”

Greenpeace meanwhile had a petition on its website pressuring Obama to ban drilling, which it updated to now ask Obama to “halt all new drilling fracking and mining on public lands and waters — including the Gulf of Mexico.”

The suggested email to Obama reads in part, “I am bitterly disappointed that you are allowing new fossil fuel drilling in Gulf waters.  With your successor poised to promote a climate-denier to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, now is the time to take PERMANENT climate action.”

Grist is funded by the Park Foundation, the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Grantham Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Rockefeller Family Fund (which recently admitted it used funding to target ExxonMobil).

DeSmog Blog was founded by a left-wing public relations expert and is funded in part by the Sustainable Markets Foundation; a pass-through organization created by the Rockefeller family.

InsideClimate was one group behind ExxonMobil attacks. It has also been funded by the Grantham Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Marisla Foundation, and the Park Foundation.

Aly Nielsen
Aly Nielsen
Alatheia Larsen is a staff writer/research analyst for MRC Business.