WASHINGTON (November 8, 2011) – The Obama administration today announced its Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017. The plan schedules 15 potential lease sales for the five year period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.
The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO for Defenders of Wildlife:
“The Obama administration made the wise decision to protect vast tracts of the country’s oceans from oil and gas exploration. However, the inclusion of the Arctic Ocean in the country’s five-year drilling plan is indefensible. From the extreme and unpredictable conditions of the region to the lack of a realistic spill response, the risks of a drilling disaster in the Arctic remain too high to authorize exploratory drilling. While the announcement proposes to address these threats by deferring drilling for a handful of years, the only way to protect this fragile marine environment from the threats posed by dangerous oil and gas exploration is to take it off the table altogether.
“Instead of enabling our country’s addiction to oil for five more years, the administration should strengthen its efforts to wean America off dirty fossil fuels, accelerating the transition to a clean energy future.”
Shell may begin drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea as early as next summer. Read about the oil giant’s inadequate oil spill response plan and the threat it poses to bowhead whales and polar bears.