The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Department of the Interior failed to conduct an adequate environmental impact assessment before selling large areas in the Arctic Ocean for oil and gas exploration. Now Shell has announced that it cannot drill in 2014.
The Court concluded that the Department's estimate of one billion barrels of recoverable oil under the frozen Arctic Ocean was "chosen arbitrarily" and that the Department of the Interior "based its decision on inadequate information about the amount of oil to be produced pursuant to the lease sale 193."
You cannot keep in place a lease that examined only the best case scenario for environmental harm. By choosing a low figure that only reflects the best case scenario, data in the EIS (and other assessments that relied on that figure) were skewed toward fewer environmental impacts, which the court said impeded a full and fair discussion of the potential effects of the project.
I am urging you to cancel the current lease under which several oil companies want to drill in the Chukchi Sea and to stop the process to sell new leases in the Arctic Ocean.
BREAKING NEWS: Just this week, Shell announced that it cannot drill in the Alaskan Arctic this year. But the fight isn't over.
This announcement comes a week after a federal court ruled that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) — the federal agency that permits oil companies to drill offshore — intentionally downplayed the impact Arctic oil drilling would have on the fragile environment of the Arctic Ocean.
We still need to make sure no oil companies can drill under this lease. The Alaskan Arctic is home to hundreds of Alaskan Native communities in addition to wildlife like polar bears, seals and whales.
Send a message to President Obama today, urging him to cancel this lease and stop drilling in the Alaskan Arctic for good.