For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Miyoko Sakashita, (510) 845-6703,

"Polar Bear" to Greet Obama in Oakland With Arctic Drilling Message: Don't Give Shell a Pass to Pollute

"Frostpaw" Highlights Environmental Risk in Wake of Drilling Rig Accident

OAKLAND, Calif. - WhatFrostpaw the polar bear and supporters from the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity will greet President Barack Obama today on the street outside the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland to deliver this message: Don’t give Shell a special pass to pollute the Arctic. Frostpaw and his friends will ask the president’s supporters to urge the White House to halt Shell’s plans to begin Arctic oil exploration in the coming weeks.

“Time is running out for President Obama to save the Arctic and its wildlife from Shell’s risky drilling plans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center. “Shell operators recently lost control of their drilling rig while it was still in the harbor. How will Shell fare in the far harsher environment of the Arctic Ocean, where an accident could easily turn into a catastrophe?”

When: Monday, July 23, from 4:00 p.m.

Where: Outside the Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

Photo/Video/Interviews: An oceans expert will be available for interviews

Background: Unless President Obama reverses course, oil drilling will begin in the pristine Arctic Ocean in the next few weeks — opening this fragile home of polar bears, walruses, seals and native communities to dangerous new oil exploration and subjecting our rapidly warming climate to even more greenhouse gas pollution. 

Shell operators recently lost control of the Noble Discoverer, a 571-foot drillship bound for the Arctic, while it was still anchored in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the vessel slipped anchor and drifted to within 100 yards of shore before being pulled back into deeper water.

Shell has also asked the EPA to revise the drillship’s air-pollution permit because it may emit far more pollution than previously anticipated. Those concerned about the Arctic’s fragile environment are asking Mr. Obama not to give Shell a special pass to pollute.

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