For Immediate Release
Miyoko Sakashita, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 845-6703
Liz VanDenzen, Alaska Wilderness League, (505) 438-4245
‘Polar Bears’ At Shell Gas Stations: Activists Target Arctic Drilling on International Polar Bear Day
SAN FRANCISCO - Shell is aiming to sink its drill bits into the pristine Arctic Ocean as early as this summer — accelerating global warming and opening up the fragile home of polar bears, walruses, seals and native communities to dangerous new oil exploration. In recognition of International Polar Bear Day, “polar bears” are visiting Shell stations from Anchorage to San Francisco to Washington, D.C. today to say no to Shell’s dangerous plan.
“Nearly every Arctic animal is at risk of extinction from global warming, which is already dramatically shrinking the sea ice so many of them need for survival. Now these same amazing creatures — and our climate — face the added threat of dirty, dangerous oil drilling and catastrophic spills,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
Environmental organizations are also asking their supporters to call the White House today to urge President Obama to stop Shell’s plans.
“We know what the government and Shell refuse to acknowledge: There’s just no way to clean up a major spill in the Arctic Ocean which is prone to hurricane-force storms, 20-foot swells, sea ice, frigid temperatures, heavy fog and seasonal darkness. And the nearest Coast Guard facility is about 1,000 miles away,” said Sakashita.
“In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a profound and welcome promise: ‘I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago,’” said Liz VanDenzen, field director with the Alaska Wilderness League. “He must keep this promise in America’s Arctic Ocean.”
Scientific studies show that, due to the rapid melting of their Arctic habitat, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears — including all the polar bears in Alaska — are likely to be extinct within the next 40 years unless we move rapidly to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and rein in global warming.
“Adding even more carbon pollution from burning fossil fuel extracted from the Arctic is exactly the opposite direction from the one we need to be moving in,” said Sakashita. “Unless we act quickly, International Polar Bear Day could soon be a day of mourning instead of celebration.”
Photos of the actions at Shell stations will be available for use here.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Alaska Wilderness League's mission is to lead the effort to preserve Alaska’s wilderness by engaging citizens, sharing resources, collaborating with other organizations, educating the public, and providing a courageous, constant and victorious voice for Alaska in the nation’s capital. It is the only organization dedicated solely to the preservation of Alaska's wilderness in the nation's capital.