TELL OBAMA: STOP THE NEXT OFFSHORE OIL DISASTER

NOVANEWS

Thursday’s oil explosion off the coast of Louisiana underscores the terrible risks associated with offshore drilling. Now, with a mile-long oil sheen spreading, and millions of gallons from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy still polluting the Gulf, the Obama administration is setting the stage for yet another offshore oil catastrophe: this time in fragile Arctic waters important to Alaska Native communities and threatened polar bears.

At the end of July, a federal court in Alaska found that the Bush administration violated the law when it approved oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea without sufficient information and analysis about risks to the Arctic environment. A different court found similar flaws with Arctic drilling plans in 2009.

Yet, President Obama’s administration has so far failed to revisit protections for the Chukchi–arctic waters off Alaska’s coast that are home to some of America’s remaining polar bears and key to the survival of Inupiat Eskimo communities.

The Obama administration has asked the court in Alaska to allow activities that would pave the way for drilling to proceed, potentially jeopardizing an area key to the survival of not only polar bears, but also bowhead whales, Pacific walrus and other wildlife.

The Gulf oil disaster clearly demonstrates the terrible risks of offshore drilling:

  • Sea birds coated in oil and unable to fly;

  • Seas turtles poisoned by toxic waters; and

  • Wildlife habitat fouled by oil.

And it could be much worse in the Chukchi.

The courts and scientists have all said that more information is needed about the Arctic environment before we even consider drilling in its ice covered seas that are cloaked in darkness most of the year.

The recent court decision provides the perfect opportunity for the Obama administration to take that time and really make sure we can protect the environment – before we jeopardize this fragile place, its wildlife and the people who count on it for the survival of their communities.

To avoid another catastrophic offshore drilling disaster like the one now threatening the communities and wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico – and another Exxon-Valdez-like oil spill – we need a responsible approach to protecting the Chukchi.

Sign this petition to tell President Obama to pull the illegal leases sold in the Chukchi Sea and halt seismic testing in the Arctic this summer.

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