Moments ago the Obama administration threw the doors of the Arctic open to Shell Oil, allowing it to immediately begin to drill for oil in the heart of protected habitat critical to the survival of polar bears.
The administration gave Shell initial approval for controversial and dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska despite the fact that a critical oil-spill containment vessel is still awaiting certification. This is a monumental mistake that puts human life, wildlife and the environment in terrible danger. The harsh and frozen conditions of the Arctic make drilling risky, and an oil spill would be impossible to clean up. I wanted to send you the news right away and let you know that the Center for Biological Diversity is redoubling our commitment to save the breathtaking Arctic and its wildlife and keep it from becoming a dirty, deadly industrial zone. We'll take swift action to beat back other oil companies that are already lining up behind Shell, eager to bust into pristine Arctic habitat and pad their profits at the expense of polar bears, walruses and whales. The Center has kept Shell out of the Arctic since 2007, and today's news hits hard. But our team of scientists, lawyers and advocates are deeply committed to our all-out campaign to protect the Arctic. It will mean a massive effort in the courts, Congress and the media -- and with the American people. We all know the dangers of drilling for oil in the harsh, remote Arctic: An oil spill will be virtually impossible to clean up with the nearest Coast Guard station 1,000 miles away. The Arctic's wildlife will be left to fend for themselves, struggling to survive against long odds. Let me be very clear about what's at stake with today's news: Once the Arctic is ruined, there's no going back. Unique animals like polar bears, yellow-billed loons, eiders, walruses, whales and ice seals that have evolved over millions of years to survive in this frozen wilderness -- and nowhere else -- will be condemned to extinction. We'll be in touch in the days ahead about Shell's drilling operations, the Center's actions and what this means for the Arctic and its wildlife. We can only keep fighting to save the Arctic by counting on you and other members to step up and take action when we need it most. Thank you for staying with us in the fight. Stay tuned,
Kierán Suckling Executive Director Center for Biological Diversity