The Obama Administration has proposed a 5-Year Offshore Drilling Program that would open up both of Alaska's Polar Bear Seas -- the Chukchi and the Beaufort -- to oil development. These waters are home to more than half of America's polar bears and include a sensitive area off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- the polar bear's favorite onshore birthing ground in Alaska.
An oil spill in polar bear habitat could be devastating. The Coast Guard has said it has "zero" spill-response capability in this remote and forbidding environment. And the oil industry has no proven method for cleaning up oil in ice-filled waters. The death toll of oil-soaked and poisoned polar bears, whales and seals would be unimaginable.
Tell the Obama Administration to put the Polar Bear Seas off-limits to oil drilling!
Sign this Letter to the official in charge of the administration's 5-Year Offshore Drilling Program.
I strongly oppose your proposed offshore drilling program for 2012-2017, which would open both the Beaufort and the Chukchi Seas to oil and gas operations.
The risks of drilling in these "Polar Bear Seas" are simply too big and the consequences potentially catastrophic. If the oil industry couldn't clean up a spill in the temperate Gulf of Mexico, what chance does it have in a remote environment with 20-foot surging seas, gale-force winds and sub-zero temperatures? The Coast Guard itself has said that it has "zero" spill-response capability in the Arctic.
An oil spill would devastate one of our nation's last pristine ecosystems, along with imperiled populations of polar bears, whales, seals -- as well as the Native communities that depend on them. Please do not allow the oil industry to roll the dice with the Polar Bear Seas.
I also urge you not to move forward with any new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico until the recommendations of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill are fully implemented. And please keep the Pacific and Atlantic coasts off limits to any offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling.
Instead of putting our marine environments at risk with increased offshore drilling, the Obama Administration should be helping America transition to a clean energy economy that saves our last wild places instead of destroying them.
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