The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270 Caitlin Leutwiler, (202) 772-3226

Reprieve for the Arctic Ocean

Obama to announce suspension of Arctic drilling


The following is a statement from
Defenders of Wildlife executive vice president Jamie Rappaport Clark:

"Safeguarding the Arctic Ocean for another year from dirty, damaging
oil drilling is absolutely the right thing to do. We thank President
Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar for their leadership and for taking
this important step. Any spill in the Arctic would have devastating
consequences for the region's fragile wildlife and ecosystems, and there
is no technology in existence that could clean up a spill in the area's
broken sea ice and frigid waters. We're relieved that Arctic drilling
will not go forward this summer, and we hope that ultimately these
leases will be permanently cancelled.

"Much more remains to be done, however. In particular, the practice
of categorically excluding offshore oil and gas activities from
meaningful environmental review must be ended. The tragedy unfolding in
the Gulf of Mexico is a reminder that offshore oil drilling is never
safe for the environment or for the communities along our coasts. Oil in
the water is dangerous for fisheries, wildlife and ecosystems no matter
the depth of the water. It's good news that President Obama is
extending a moratorium on new deepwater permits for six months.
Hopefully, his review of the Gulf oil disaster will lead to a permanent
moratorium on new offshore drilling anywhere along our coasts. America's
coastal communities, human and natural, are far too precious to risk
the devastation we're now seeing as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon
disaster. Moreover, as the President recognized in his remarks in
California yesterday, the disaster in the Gulf is a wake-up call to the
nation that it is time to move away from continued reliance on dirty,
polluting fossil fuels and to move toward responsible development of
clean, renewable energy.

"We remain convinced that a renewed presidential moratorium on new
offshore drilling, including the Arctic and all other sensitive American
waters, is the right next step. And in light of recent revelations
about MMS and the short shrift that agency has given to environmental
reviews and the potential for catastrophic accidents, clearly all
existing leases should undergo a comprehensive review in light of these
changed circumstances to insure that accidents like the Deepwater
Horizon, and the heartbreaking impacts we're seeing in the Gulf, never
happen again."

about how Defenders is working to halt offshore drilling in the U.S.

See how Defenders is responding to
the Gulf oil disaster.

Defenders of Wildlife is the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled species and their habitats in North America.

(202) 682-9400