Greenpeace USA Condemns Congressional Approval of Tax-Payer-Funded Ocean Destruction

May 31, 2024

© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

Washington, DC (May 31, 2024)In response to the announcement that the U.S. Congress has approved funding for a deep-sea mining project to explore the feasibility of securing critical minerals by extracting them from the ocean floors, Arlo Hemphill, Greenpeace USA Oceans Are Life Project Team Lead, said: “Deep sea mining has become a match made in hell: greedy corporations and corrupt politicians are trying to get rich off a story that we need to mine the ocean so we can build more bombs. They want to start a new arms race for their own personal gain, so we shouldn’t be surprised by their lack of concern that they need to trash the most pristine ecosystem on earth to do it.” 

“Mining the deep sea is not only destructive; it is also extremely expensive. With the rapidly evolving state of battery technology, the industry’s promises are built on shaky grounds. The idea that taxpayers could end up footing the bill for deep sea mining that would only boost world metal production by negligible single digits while also being left to deal with its impacts should be a wake-up call for us all. Chasing short-term profits threatens long-term ocean health and humanity’s future. This industry isn’t just risky—it’s morally indefensible. As long as the U.S. remains noncommittal, mining companies will continue to exploit that uncertainty to seek gullible investors.” 

Despite the approval of funds, several obstacles remain before the industry can access them. The amendments must be approved by both the House and Senate before the president can sign them into law. Furthermore, any funds committed to the industry are unlikely to be available before 2025. 

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the deep seabed is to be used for peaceful purposes and the collective benefit of humankind. While President Biden has been silent on this issue, resistance has grown as over two dozen countries have already said they do not think deep-sea mining should be allowed to proceed at this stage. Businesses such as Google, BMW, Volvo, and Renault have all called for a pause, while over 800 scientists, and Indigenous Peoples in the Pacific whose lives and livelihoods rely on the ocean, have raised objections. International investors and major banks have also shunned funding for deep-sea mining. 

Despite these objections, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State under the Trump Administration, recently joined former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a new venture to raise capital for deep sea mining. The two former politicians, both censured for ethics violations by their governments, are cashing in on the long-standing revolving door between political office and the private sector. Pompeo and Morrison will be counted on to use their connections in the corridors of power to open up the deep sea to mining.


Contact: Tanya Brooks, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, P: 703-342-9226, E: [email protected] 

Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at   

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