The Obama administration's new plan to radically expand ocean drilling is a disaster for both wildlife and the climate.
The waters off the Alaskan coast will be divvied up among oil companies for risky exploratory drilling. This pristine marine ecosystem is home to incredibly, sensitive wildlife -- polar bears, ice seals and walruses -- and is the most dangerous to drill. Even the Coast Guard admits there is zero oil spill response capacity in the Arctic Ocean.
Obama's plan also endangers the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf is still reeling from long-term impacts from the 2010 BP oil spill. More than 600 whales and dolphins have been stranded in the Gulf, and hundreds of dead sea turtle have washed ashore.
We need to shift to clean energy that will keep us safe from both spills and climate change.
Tell President Obama: No more risky drilling in our oceans!
Dear President Obama,
I'm writing to urge you to reconsider your plan to offer oil and gas leases in our nation's sensitive ocean waters. The national offshore drilling plan promises to make it even more difficult to prevent disastrous climate change, and the leasing plan will open up risky drilling for underwater fossil fuels that, once used, will release billions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere.
First, please cancel lease sales proposed off Alaskan shore. The rich biodiversity of Arctic wildlife is highly vulnerable to climate change, and drilling will speed the extinction of polar bears and other sensitive polar life. In the Arctic Oceans' remore, frozen waters, oil-spill response in non-existant. Oil exploration, production and transportation is extremely dangerous in the stormy, ice-choked Arctic.
There is also an inadequate knowledge base to approve the offshore leasing plan. Scientists know very little about how the Arctic Ocean functions or the ways in which this fragile marine ecosystem might respond to industrial activities. Information about even the most basic biological parameters for every one of the most conspicuous animals in the ecosystem -- including all fish, marine mammals and birds -- is in large part unknown.
Moreover, ocean drilling should not be expanded in the Gulf of Mexico, especially environmentally sensitive eastern areas. The Gulf's productive waters are home to a rich array of marine life: majestic bluefin tuna, bottlenose dolphins, endangered sperm whales and endangered sea turtles. The plan to open up the remaining areas of the Gulf of Mexico to risky deepwater drilling while it recovers from the biggest oil spill in U.S. history is a mistake.
President Obama, after the spill you promised a cleaner and safer energy future. Our country's dependence on polluting fossil fuels must be phased out. Please keep your promise. Do not approve the 2012-2017 offshore oil leasing plan.