The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jared Saylor, Earthjustice (202) 667-4500, x213;

USGS Releases Scientific Findings on Impacts of Oil Development in America's Arctic Ocean

Science must inform administrative decisions on Arctic oil drilling


The U.S. Geological Survey released a study evaluating the gaps in science and knowledge about the impacts of offshore oil and gas development in America's Arctic Ocean. The following statement is from Jessica Ennis, legislative representative at Earthjustice about today's USGS release:

"The old saying of 'look before you leap' rings true on oil and gas development in America's Arctic Ocean. This pristine area is one of the least understood regions in the world. There are still many gaps in important scientific data on the impacts of oil drilling in these waters. But despite missing information about seemingly simple information like species counts of marine mammals and information about tidal systems and currents, the oil industry is looking to leap into oil drilling in these remote waters.

"Today's study from the U.S. Geological Survey reiterates the need for more scientific analysis before the Obama administration and the Department of the Interior allow drilling in these sensitive waters. The timing of the report is significant as the administration is poised to make decisions in the coming months that threaten long-lasting and irreparable damage to the Arctic. Shell Oil Co. is currently seeking to expand oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean as early as next summer, and the decision to allow them to proceed is currently under review. Although we are only just a little more than a year removed from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico--the largest oil spill in our nation's history--the idea of more reckless offshore oil drilling persists.

"The USGS study confirms that the Obama administration must look closely at the science and impacts of oil drilling in America's Arctic Ocean before it decides to leap into dangerous and reckless oil and gas development in these waters."

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.