Secretary Granholm’s pledge to oil companies on Tuesday that the Biden Administration won’t reinstate the crude export ban are a betrayal of frontline communities and the administration’s commitment to treat the climate crisis as a code red emergency, according to Build Back Fossil Free, a coalition of over 300 groups working to pressure President Biden to do more on fossil fuels. 

According to an article by Bloomberg News, Sec Granholm told Big Oil representatives that she wanted to “put to rest” any rumors about reinstating the crude export ban, adding that the administration was “not a bogeyman” and that she did “not want to fight with any of you.” 

John Beard, the director of the Port Arthur Community Action Network and a Build Back Fossil Free steering committee member issued the following response: 

“The story of this administration is ‘promises made and promises unkept.’ Despite claims to being the environmental president, Biden hasn’t made good on his word to the millions of Americans demanding climate action. The Biden Administration continues to bend to the will of Big Oil and is bamboozled by its false solutions and misrepresentation of facts. Exports and more drilling do little to affect domestic prices nor do they reduce dependence of foreign crude.

This is nothing more than feeding the beast in pursuit of profit, while Gulf Coastal communities of color continue to suffer the effects of pollution and social and environmental injustice. But justice is coming and it’s coming soon. Our movement will force this Administration to make a choice: the people or fossil fuels.”

Build Back Fossil Free and their allies are also continuing to push back on the administration’s recent decision to host the largest offshore oil and gas lease sale in US history, part of a disturbing trend of President Biden continuing to put Big Oil ahead of tackling the climate crisis. 

Love Sanchez, co-founder of Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend in Corpus Christi, TX, and a member of the Karankawa Kadla, said: 

“​​Based on what I have been reading and observing, our federal government does not have our backs. One minute Biden says he is going to tackle the climate crisis, the next he tries to illegally auction off our waters in the South. 

The South is where predominantly Black and Brown communities live. This is clearly environmental racism. I feel for my relatives in Louisiana. If you look at the sale, if it is finalized, these offshores will be built closer to Louisiana. Our Corpus Christi bay area will also be damaged. I commend the lawyers trying to stop them. I commend the people standing up to stop it. We will continue to stand with those trying to stop this offshore illegal auction. 

It’s disrespectful to our mother Earth. She is barely surviving, and the fossil fuel industry and corrupt politicians don’t stop. Since they aren’t stopping, neither are we. Expect us!”

Reinstating the crude export ban is a powerful step that the Biden Administration could take to cut carbon dioxide emissions, protect frontline communities, and advance the transition away from fossil fuels. 

According to a recent report, crude oil exports have increased nearly 600% since the export ban was lifted in 2015, resulting in serious consequences for communities in extraction areas like the Permian Basin and export communities along the Gulf Coast. Another report concluded that reinstating the crude export ban could cut 80 to 181 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, comparable to closing 19 to 42 coal plants.

Build Back Fossil Free is a coalition of over 300 organizations pressuring President Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop the federal approval of new fossil fuel projects. This October, the coalition organized People vs. Fossil Fuels, a week-long mobilization at the White House that led to over 600 people being arrested for civil disobedience. The coalition has pledged to keep up pressure on the administration to act on fossil fuels in 2022.