Offshore drilling in the Arctic: The deadline to oppose new leases is tonight!

Walrus family

Joel Garlich Miller

Despite a glaring lack of scientific information about the Arctic Ocean, or effective technology to address a major oil spill, the Obama administration is following the previous administration’s lead and positioning itself to expand offshore oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas over the next five years in its 2012-2017 drilling plan.

Please take action now to help stop this disastrous plan. The deadline to comment is midnight, Jan. 9.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has already decided not pursue drilling in the Atlantic Ocean because of a “lack of infrastructure.”  If the port cities of Boston, Portland, Gloucester, and the other cities and towns in New England cannot respond to an oil spill, how does the BOEM expect the small, isolated villages of Kaktovik and Barrow – which have no deepwater ports – to be able to clean up an oil spill?

We are not ready to drill in the Arctic Ocean, period. But oil companies want to drill now, and they and their Congressional allies are pressuring the Obama administration to surrender this remote treasure. It’s up to you to help pressure the administration to say no.

The Arctic Ocean is full of unknowns. We don’t know how to effectively clean up a spill in the icy Arctic waters.  We don’t know how an oil spill would affect the polar bears, whales, and seals that live in the Arctic Ocean.  And we simply do not what a spill would do the people that depend on the Arctic Ocean for their food and their livelihood.  We simply do not have enough data. BOEM’s draft Environmental Impact Statement on the draft 2012-2017 drilling plan falls far short of ensuring that drilling on the Arctic’s Outer Continental Shelf can be done safely. We’re simply not ready.  What we do know is that drilling in the Arctic now threatens the people and wildlife that live there.

Tell BOEM to stop this disaster in the making, and ask the Department of the Interior provide an options that don’t include drilling in their final Environmental Impact Statement. The number of people who comment is important. Please click to send this letter, or revise it with your own personal comments. Let’s tell BOEM and Big Oil that we’re not ready to sacrifice America’s Arctic.