We’re happy to hear the news that the Obama administration has canceled proposed plans to hold oil lease sales for Arctic offshore waters through 2022. Today the Interior Department released its final five-year plan for offshore drilling leases, including 10 sales in the Gulf of Mexico and just one Alaska lease sale, in Cook Inlet. The plan eliminates two other proposed Arctic options.
This is a major victory to animal and environmental activists who know that industrial activity in the icy Arctic offshore waters will harm whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbates global warming—a scientific fact that President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t recognize yet.
“The plan focuses lease sales in the best places ― those with the highest resource potential, lowest conflict and established infrastructure ― and removes regions that are simply not right to lease,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement. “Given the unique and challenging Arctic environment and industry’s declining interest in the area, forgoing lease sales in the Arctic is the right path forward.”
In March, the White House abandoned plans to include the Atlantic Coast in the upcoming sale. Although this plan is a big win for Arctic wildlife, it continues to leave the Gulf of Mexico at risk by locking the Gulf into another five years of corporate giveaways ― with decades more of climate pollution, offshore oil spills, devastation to fisheries and health impacts to local communities.
A study released in 2014, four years after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf, found that 14 species, including blue fin tuna, bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales, white pelicans, red snapper, Eastern oysters and sea turtles, are suffering from the fallout of the spill. More than 900 bottlenose dolphins have been found dead in the oil spill area in the last four years.
But there’s still time for President Obama to secure his climate legacy. You can send a message to President Obama thanking him for his climate leadership in the Arctic, but urge him to halt industry plans in the Gulf of Mexico as there are ample world oil supplies with targeting that already vulnerable area. Leave a comment here: