The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Jonathon Berman, (202) 495-3033,

Sierra Club Responds To President Obama's Visit To Alaska And The Arctic

Trip Comes on the Heels of President’s Approval of Oil Drilling in the Arctic

Anchorage, AK

Today, President Obama will arrive in Alaska to focus on the devastation caused by climate change. While multiple past presidents have visited our 49th state, President Obama will become the first sitting president to set foot in the Arctic.

The President's trip comes shortly after he gave final approval to Shell to begin drilling in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea, despite warning from scientists at the Department of Interior that any drilling carries a 75-percent likelihood of a 'major' oil spill.

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In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

"The timing of President Obama's trip to Alaska and the Arctic could not be more ironic, given that his administration just approved dangerous drilling plans that put the region's well-being in serious jeopardy.

"It was a welcoming sight when President Obama declared that Alaska is ground zero for climate change in his video announcing the trip. But approving drilling in the Arctic while attempting to build a climate legacy is mixing oil and water.

"The President has a number of significant accomplishments in Alaska and the Arctic, including recommending permanent protection for the Arctic Refuge and protecting Bristol Bay and the Izembek Refuge. However, he is undercutting those accomplishments by letting dangerous drilling move forward in the Chukchi Sea.

"If the President wants to complete his climate legacy, he must cancel all future drilling leases in the Arctic and remove the possibility of drilling there from the 2017-2022 five year plan."

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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