An oil spill in polar bear habitat could exacerbate stresses on polar bears struggling under climate change.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently issued an analysis predicting that Lease Sale 193 in the Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi Sea—if developed—has a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill. Amazingly, the agency is proceeding with Shell’s plans to drill there.
That’s a 75 percent chance of spilling a minimum of 42,000 gallons of oil in these near-pristine waters that are home to polar bears, bowhead whales, fish and walruses. Would you attempt anything with a 75 percent chance of disaster? The oil industry isn’t even capable of recovering meaningful amounts of spilled oil in the ocean—especially in icy, stormy seas.
BOEM currently is taking public comments on Lease Sale 193’s draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, a document developed after the previous, flawed SEIS was overturned by a federal court after The Wilderness Society and others sued. If we don’t speak up now, it is very likely that a large oil spill will do incredible damage to the Arctic Ocean and its coastline, the species that call it home, and the Alaska Native villages which depend on the sea.
Please let the government know that you think offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean is exactly what BOEM’s own report says it is—a disaster waiting to happen.