The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449,

Obama Administration Releases New Guidelines for Arctic Ocean Drilling


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."

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

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