Polar Bears Win! No Arctic Oil Drilling for Now

By Laura Bailey

A big win for Arctic animals today! One day earlier than expected, the Obama administration has announced that it will halt Shell’s plans to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas this summer.

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.


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Danuta W.
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Wonderful article. Thank you.

Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Lena N.
Lena Neff4 years ago

Wow! Cool!

beverly gannon
beverly gannon4 years ago

Great news enit?. am so glad but how long will it last b4 they start again. Poor animals of this world. xx

Budnbeth Ganoe
Budnbeth Ganoe4 years ago

thank god. lets just hope they never drill. we have to keep fighting. we can let the drilling co. win. we have to just keep banding together and show the government that the little people are strong and that we can make a difference. the onlly people that are going to stick up for these poor animals are us. i see another petition coming and we will win that one to. thank you god for letting this happen.

Shelly Peterson
Shelly Peterson4 years ago

Thankyou President Obama, Sec Salazar, and all of us that are logically, sanely, scientifically concerned and accomplishing REAL solutions for 2011 and all of our futures.

Emily B.
Emily B.4 years ago

Great news, hope it stays that way

Cath Bono
Kate A.4 years ago

Great!! I hope drilling is never allowed.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado4 years ago

Good news. I hope it stays that way: no drilling allowed ever.

Alison Baker
Alison Baker4 years ago

The oil & gas industry has already asked Obama to reconsider drilling in ANWR & the OCS. The fight isn't over yet.