Help Slow Down Drilling in the Arctic Ocean {TAKE ACTION}

Arctic Ocean Chukchi Sea

The Wilderness Society has a good petition to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar right now on drilling in the Arctic. As it notes, Shell Oil Co. currently has plans to drill up to 10 exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean over the next 2 years. Not cool.

It advocates (and I second) that you help protect Arctic Ocean’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas by signing a petition to Secretary Salazar today to “insist that the federal government identifies the threats that oil drilling present to the rich ocean and coastline environment, the wildlife that live there, and the people that depend on it.”

The petition is available on the Wilderness Society’s website.

The text of the letter to Secretary Salazar (which can be edited, of course) is:

Subject: Comments on the Revised Draft SEIS, Lease Sale 193 Chukchi Sea

The Arctic Ocean is home to hundreds of thousands of marine animals, including seals, walruses, whales and polar bears, and is depended upon by Native villagers for food.

Please do not allow drilling in ecologically-critical Arctic waters before basic essential information is gathered and there are proven technologies to clean up spills in the Arctic’s icy waters.  The Presidential Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy specifically concluded that there are “serious concerns” and “special considerations” regarding Arctic drilling and oil spill response.

Additionally, the recent US Geological Survey analysis of the ocean’s science needs concluded that further research should take place before drilling in the Arctic Ocean, including establishing a baseline scientific understanding.  With this in mind, it is clear that exploratory drilling resulting from Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea should be postponed until there is a better understanding of the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic Ocean is too special a place to risk with incomplete data on the ocean’s marine resources and poor spill response plans.  The oil in the Arctic Ocean isn’t going anywhere, and can wait for proper research and preparedness.
A Deepwater Horizon-scale oil spill  which the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement acknowledges hypothetically is possible – would be catastrophic for the Arctic Ocean and the wildlife and people that depend on it.  Now is the time to take proper precautions and ensure that drilling is done only after we have confidence that spill risks are minimized.

Head on over & sign the petition today!

Photos via nasa hq photokenyai

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