For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Miyoko Sakashita, (510) 845-6703

Polar Bear to Greet President Obama in San Francisco With Plea: "Don't Let Shell Drill in the Arctic This Summer"


What: The Center for Biological Diversity’s “Frostpaw”
the Polar Bear will greet President Obama with the message: “Don’t
let Shell drill in the Arctic this summer.” The president is
expected to attend a fundraiser at the Fairmont for Senator Barbara

When: Today, Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 4:30

Where: Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., San

Background: “If we have learned anything
from the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s that we cannot drill in
the Arctic. Large domes, small domes, golf balls, garbage, chemical
dispersants, fire – nothing has stopped the enormous flow of oil into
the Gulf. Clearly, there are no safeguards that make offshore oil –
particularly in the Arctic – safe,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s
Oceans Program director. “With limited capacity to respond to
potential spills and icy, harsh conditions, the Arctic is no place to
take our next drilling gamble.”


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The Obama administration has been embroiled in
controversy since it was revealed on May 5, 2010 that Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar allowed the Minerals Management Service to exempt
BP’s offshore drilling plan from environmental review. The agency used a
National Environmental Policy Act loophole meant to apply to minor
projects with no, or minimal, negative effects – such as construction
of outhouses and hiking trails. The controversy deepened when it came
out that the agency routinely exempts hundreds of dangerous offshore
oil drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico from review every year.

This same agency also rubberstamped Shell’s Arctic
summer drilling plan without conducting a proper environmental review
of the possible consequences of drilling, including a large oil spill
such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Earlier this month, the Center filed suit against
Secretary Salazar over his continued approval of offshore drilling
plans in the Gulf without environmental review. Despite the
catastrophe, Secretary Salazar allowed MMS to issue more than a dozen
new drilling approvals – all exempt from environmental review – after
the explosion.

“Shell’s plan for exploratory deepwater drilling in the
Arctic in just one month must be re-examined in the light of the
disaster in the Gulf, and President Obama must call a real halt to all
offshore drilling today,” said Sakashita.


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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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