By Laura Bailey
The decision came as part of a larger report on the BP Gulf oil spill that was delivered to the President by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
In reaction to the report, the President announced this:
After reading the report’s recommendations with Secretary Salazar and other members of my administration, we’re going to be ordering the following actions: First, we will suspend the planned exploration of two locations off the coast of Alaska. Second, we will cancel the pending lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico and the proposed lease sale off the coast of Virginia. Third, we will continue the existing moratorium and suspend the issuance of new permits to drill new deepwater wells for six months. And four, we will suspend action on 33 deepwater exploratory wells currently being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Wilderness Society and other environmental groups have been working overtime to urge the administration to stop Shell’s risky Arctic drilling from moving forward and to provide robust leadership on the Gulf spill, including supporting clean, renewable energy development.
Yesterday, we united to send President Obama a letter urging for solutions to mitigate the current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico and to prevent the next one from happening.
Included in the letter were suggestions to suspensd the drilling leases on the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, where drilling was slated to begin in July, 2010. Also included was a recommendation to strongly support renewable energy, which would lessen our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels, and make disastrous spills like the one in the Gulf a thing of the past.
Today’s announcement merely postpones any Arctic drilling until 2011, so the fight is not over. But for today Arctic animals will not be subject to the same drilling that has created ecological disaster in the Gulf.