Oceans & Forests Blog

More than half a million Americans call on Obama administration to stop risky and dangerous drilling in the Arctic Ocean since Kulluk incident

Posted Mar. 27, 2013 / Posted by: Adam Russell

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, a coalition of organizations announced that more than 500,000 Americans in the past three months have joined the call to demand the Obama administration put a stop to risky and dangerous drilling in the Arctic Ocean in light of Shell’s mishaps, such as its ill-fated Kulluk drilling rig that ran aground in Alaska on December 31, 2012. To date nearly two million voices have spoken out against drilling in the Arctic Ocean over the past few years.

The groups listed below have been mobilizing and organizing activists online and offline to add their names to the push to protect the Arctic Ocean from Shell and other Big Oil companies – and the momentum is working, as Shell has already cancelled plans to drill this year after 12 months of errors, mishaps, and near-disasters:

The Coalition Released the Following Statement:

“For hundreds of thousands of Americans, seeing Shell’s drilling rig run aground in the harsh Arctic weather last December was the last straw. The outpouring of action since then is a loud and clear signal that President Obama should suspend all risky and dangerous drilling activities in the Arctic Ocean.

In one year, one of Shell’s ships caught fire, rigs lost control, ran aground, and became the subject of criminal investigations, proving time and time again companies are not prepared for the Arctic. On March 14, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar admitted that ‘Shell screwed up’ and announced it would not be allowed back into the Arctic without major changes. The nearly 2 million Americans who have spoken up recognize that if the largest and wealthiest company in the world cannot figure out how to drill safely in the Arctic, all of this risky and dangerous drilling should be put on hold immediately.

Now, it’s time the Obama administration recognizes the same thing and reflects it in policy. The administration should not make any new decisions until it has completed a more thorough review of all drilling operations in the Arctic, implemented the most rigorous standards and determined whether and under what conditions to allow offshore drilling. As nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell should prioritize these challenges, and make sure that the Interior Department does not make the same mistakes again, acting immediately to put a pause in the Arctic until this in-depth review is complete.   

The threat to America’s Arctic from drilling doesn’t just stop at spills and disasters, and the destruction of one of our most pristine places. Dredging up more dirty fuels and then burning them into our atmosphere is a one-two punch for America’s Arctic, destroying one of our most pristine places and making the climate crisis that is melting the region even worse. The administration can’t build a climate change legacy while drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

In one year, Shell proved beyond a doubt that no Big Oil company is prepared to drill in the Arctic and the potential threats this destructive practice would pose are numerous. But, if the Obama administration needed another reason to rethink the United States’ Arctic Ocean drilling program, they now have nearly 2 million more of them.”

The coalition included the following members:

Sierra Club – Alaska Wilderness League – Center for Biological Diversity – Friends of the Earth – Greenpeace – Earthjustice – National Audubon Society – Natural Resources Defense Council – The Wilderness Society – League of Conservation Voters – CREDO

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Contact:
Trey Pollard, Sierra Club, (202) 495-3058
Gwen Dobbs, Alaska Wilderness League, (202) 266-0418
Rebecca Noblin, Center for Biological Diversity, (907) 274-1110
Marcie Keever, Friends of the Earth, (510) 900-3144
Keiller MacDuff, Greenpeace, (202) 679-2236
Kari Birdseye, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2098
David Ringer, National Audubon Society, (212) 979-3062
Jake Thompson, Natural Resources Defense Council, (202) 289-2387
Tim Woody, The Wilderness Society, (907) 223-2443
Jeff Gohringer, League of Conservation Voters, (202) 454-4573
Sarah Lane, CREDO, (415) 369-2014

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