While Shell recently announced plans to drill in America’s Arctic Ocean this summer, the Obama administration has continued to set the stage for future oil drilling in the region. Unfortunately for polar bears, ringed seals, whales and walrus, Interior Secretary Jewell stated at a recent Congressional hearing that the Obama administration could open 90% of the Arctic Ocean up to development over the next several years through its 5-year plan for oil and gas development off our coasts.
This is bad news for the Arctic. Despite ridiculous denials by some members of Congress, climate change and melting ice already pose an enormous risk to polar bears, walrus, seals and other Arctic wildlife. It makes no sense to add oil spill threats to their struggle. The government’s own plan shows a 75% chance of a major spill in the Chukchi Sea if areas there are developed, and Shell’s previous blunders have shown us how little we should trust Big Oil in the Arctic.
Polar bear: (C)Steven Cook/Creative Commons