For Immediate Release

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Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449,

Obama Administration Releases New Guidelines for Arctic Ocean Drilling

WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration today released new Arctic drilling standards for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. For the first time the standards take into account the unique challenges that come with drilling in the Arctic Ocean's harsh and remote waters.

In response Dan Ritzman, Alaska Program Director for Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign issued the following statement.

"We're pleased that the Obama administration has put aside the one-size-fits-all approach to regulating offshore drilling. The Arctic's frozen waters and harsh seas require different safety and environmental standards than the warm, calm waters of the Gulf.

"While the new safeguards will hopefully ensure companies are better prepared for the unique conditions of the Arctic, they do not guarantee safety. We know from past experience for example, that Shell cannot meet these news standards, yet the company continues to push forward plans to drill. And the fact remains that the very hazardous conditions that make these standards necessary also make drilling in the Arctic inherently risky.

"Even with new standards the chances of an oil spill are high, as is the threat to our climate if we fail to heed scientists' warnings to keep these dirty fuels in the ground. The only way to fully protect the Arctic's amazing wildlife, the people who depend on them and our climate from dirty fuels drilling is not to allow any oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Shell should take the responsible route and cancel their drilling plans."


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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