Wilderness Society Cautiously Welcomes Alaska Component of Offshore Drilling Announcement

Mar 31, 2010

The Wilderness Society today cautiously welcomed the Obama Administration's announcement regarding decisions about offshore oil and gas development in Alaska.

Bill Meadows, the President of The Wilderness Society said:

"The Wilderness Society fully supports the President's decision to protect Bristol Bay from leasing and development.   The world-class fishery of Bristol Bay is too valuable to risk losing to the impacts of offshore oil and gas development, and we are hopeful that such protections will be afforded the region’s onshore federal lands as well. We are grateful that the Administration intends to make the future decisions about the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas on the basis of solid science, and we expect that all ocean aquatic resources will be evaluated during that process.  However, we remain concerned that the door is open to future lease sales in the Arctic Ocean."

TWS cautions that Alaska remains Ground-Zero for early severe global warming impacts, such as native villages falling into the sea from coastal erosion. The decision to delay leasing in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, and the permanent withdrawal of lease sales in Bristol Bay, buys the time needed for a thorough review of the science affecting the area.  The more apparent the impacts of the climate crisis become, the more compelling will be the case that we need renewable substitutes for environmentally-destructive oil and gas.

Read more about The Wilderness Society's position on the administration's offshore drilling announcement here.



The Wilderness Society is the leading public-lands conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care about our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 500,000 members and supporters, TWS has led the effort to permanently protect 110 million acres in 44 states.