A Chance for the Obama Administration to Halt Offshore Drilling in the Arctic

Written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Senior Attorney, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)

It’s no secret that Shell’s attempt to drill offshore in the Arctic last year was a miserable failure  — a string of blunders that proves, once and for all, that the Arctic is no place for drilling.

Ultimately, Shell’s ineptitude forced it to call off drilling in the Polar Bear Seas for this summer. But despite the company’s shocking record of accidents and harrowing near-misses, Shell has vowed to try again — and the Obama Administration appears all too willing to give them a green light.

These two seas, the Beaufort and the Chukchi, are home to more than half of our nation’s polar bears — including those that den in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Their populations are already in decline due to global warming. The last thing they need is a catastrophic oil spill.

That’s why NRDC is mobilizing nationwide pressure on President Obama’s nominee for Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, to put a permanent halt to all offshore drilling in the Polar Bear Seas. At the same time, NRDC is fighting four separate battles in federal court to stop Shell before it can drill again.

A spill in this fragile environment could coat polar bears in a deadly slick of black crude … suffocate endangered bowhead whales and other marine mammals … kill thousands of migratory birds … and poison one of the earth’s most fragile ecosystems for decades to come.

Shell’s mishaps have amply demonstrated that Big Oil is woefully unprepared to ever drill safely in the harsh conditions of the Arctic, amidst 20-foot seas, gale-force winds, protracted darkness, subzero temperatures and eight months of solid pack ice. And the oil industry still has no proven method of cleaning up oil in the Arctic.

No amount of delay, further study by the Interior Department or technological fixes by Shell will ever change the Arctic’s impossible-to-handle conditions or the inevitable tragedy of human error.

Right now we have a chance to change the Obama Administration’s pro-oil stance in the Arctic. Secretary Jewell could win Senate confirmation at any time. It’s vital that she hear from as many concerned citizens as possible who will not tolerate handing over the polar bear’s home to Big Oil.

Please join me in calling on Secretary Jewell to put the Polar Bear Seas permanently off-limits to oil operations. NRDC will deliver your message, along with tens of thousands of others, on Secretary Jewell’s first day in office.

We cannot afford to wait until Shell’s next blunder becomes an environmental catastrophe. Take action now to protect polar bears and keep Shell out of the Arctic!


Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg

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Carrie-Anne Brown

signed and shared, thanks for sharing :)

Andrew C.
Andrew C.2 years ago

Signed...again! This is getting ridiculous!

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright2 years ago

Petition signed..............AGAIN. ***sigh***

stewart s.
stewart s.2 years ago

Sign the petition, and let us hold Pres. Obama to his campaign promises!!

Lydia Weissmuller Price

Signed and shared, thank you.

mitchell dawes
mitchell dawes2 years ago

You know, they won't take it. Looks like it's up to us again.

David King
David King2 years ago

President Obama and the State Department are wavering on one of the most critical decisions facing our climate -- whether to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

That’s why we’ve joined up with a bunch of groups from across the country to deliver 1 million comments to the administration, urging them to reject the Keystone XL pipeline between today and Earth Day.

Be one of the first to add your name to the 1 million people speaking out against the Keystone XL pipeline.

President Obama has said the right things on global warming, and has taken some critical steps, like doubling our cars’ fuel efficiency. And thanks in part to his strong leadership, our consumption of oil has dropped over 10% since 2007.

But the progress we’ve made would be undermined if we increased our dependence on oil from tar sands, which has the potential to add 240 billion metric tons of global warming pollution to our environment.

Now, that’s just unacceptable.

Join me, and add your name now. Let’s give President Obama 1 million reasons to reject Keystone.
(cut and paste the link to sign the petition)

Elisabeth T.
Elisabeth T.2 years ago


Debbie Fry
Debbie Fry2 years ago

Get a grip, How do you not understand!

Marcel Elschot
Marcel Elschot2 years ago

Thanks for sharing