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Coalition of environmental groups calls for a hold on arctic drilling

From Green Right Now Reports As the Obama Administration ponders whether the gulf oil disaster should dictate any changes in the plans for additional offshore oil drilling, a coalition of...

From Green Right Now Reports

As the Obama Administration ponders whether the gulf oil disaster should dictate any changes in the plans for additional offshore oil drilling, a coalition of environment groups is saying no way, baby, no way to drilling in arctic seas.

They’ve put together an ad campaign that will be running on cable news channels, like CNN and MSNBC, saying that arctic offshore oil drilling is a bad idea and asking the public to weigh in by calling President Obama if they agree.

Shell Oil plans to put an exploratory well in place off Alaska’s coast this summer, even as the nation’s worst spill unfolds in the gulf. The groups are alarmed because a spill in arctic waters could be worse.

“Imagine many of the same challenges as the Gulf, plus bitter cold, ice, extreme wind and wave conditions, 24-hour darkness for months out of the year and response equipment for a blowout of this size being weeks away,” notes a statement on behalf of the coalition, which includes the World Wildlife Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, The Wilderness Society, National Audubon Society and the Alaska Wilderness League.

The ad also has been posted on You Tube:

Shell says that drilling in the Arctic’s shallow water is less risky than in the Gulf’s deep water. But the coalition notes that at least one report has shown that blowouts are more likely in shallow water; and the cold and ice would make clean up in the arctic extremely difficult.

“As the Exxon Valdez disaster and the ongoing BP spill have shown us, oil spills devastate environments and communities, and the devastation can last for generations,” said Cindy Shogan, Executive Director for the Alaska Wilderness League. “We need to be sure that we can effectively respond to and clean up an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean before we make this pristine place our next drilling gamble.”

“The Obama administration needs to know that Americans want a pause on oil drilling in the pristine waters of America’s Arctic Ocean,” said Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice. “…An oil spill in this remote region would have long-lasting impacts for decades, killing whales, seals, fish and birds, and the Native communities that rely on them.”

When Obama opened several areas of American waters for oil drilling, he included areas in Alaska that many conservationists consider especially sensitive ecologically. Many groups stated their opposition to the exploratory drilling that will be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas under the Obama offshore drilling policy. Drilling was not authorized for Bristol Bay, a rich source of American seafood.


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