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The pristine waters of America's Arctic Ocean are in danger. These waters provide critical habitat for iconic species such as polar bears, whales, and walrus that are already suffering the effects of dramatic climate change. Little is known about this region and about how this region may be affected by oil drilling.
Approving oil drilling is a move away from a clean energy economy and towards a deeper reliance on dirty fossil fuels while putting our Arctic Ocean and the wildlife that thrive there at unnecessary risk. Ultimately, drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean is not consistent with a responsible course to combat climate change, something the President has committed to in his second term.
Additionally, after the failures of Shell Oil's drilling efforts last year, the Administration needs to reassess its course before moving forward with drilling. Putting oil drilling rigs into sensitive waters could have catastrophic effects. Information is missing to assess the impacts of drilling, let alone responsibly manage it. And no technology currently exists to clean up oil spilled in frozen seas.
Urge Secretary Jewell to re-evaluate offshore oil drilling in these remote waters.
To: Secretary Sally Jewell, US Department of the Interior
Allowing oil drilling and development in the pristine and remote waters of America's Arctic Ocean is a risky and unnecessary venture. Government scientists agree that more data is needed to fully understand the impacts of an oil spill in this sensitive region. Given this, I urge you gather vital missing baseline data and reassess oil spill response capacity before moving forward with leasing and drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
This remote region is one of the least understood areas of the world, and an oil spill would devastate endangered marine wildlife and would severely affect Native subsistence communities which have thrived in this remote region for thousands of years. No technology currently exists to clean up an oil spill in frozen and icy seas.
The rush to allow oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean moves us away from a clean energy future that doesn't rely on dirty fossil fuels. It puts a sensitive ecosystem at unnecessary risk. It threatens endangered and threatened species, as well as Native communities.
Please step back and reassess whether to open the Arctic Ocean to oil drilling. The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico devastated and continues to haunt that region. Don't make the same mistake twice by opening the Arctic Ocean to unsafe oil drilling.