Even as millions of gallons of oil from BP’s botched Deepwater Horizon drilling operation pollute the Gulf and threaten the people and environment of the Gulf of Mexico, the administration has so far failed to act to protect Alaska’s fragile and remote Chukchi Sea -- prime habitat for America's threatened polar bears -- from a similar catastrophe.
To help prevent the next drilling disaster and protect the lives of our polar bears, Defenders has joined with our friends at CREDO Action in a new campaign to stop harmful offshore drilling in this sensitive area -- but we need your help to win!
Please read the message below and take action to save our polar bears!
-- Rodger Schlickeisen, President, Defenders of Wildlife
Last month, a federal court in Alaska found that the Bush administration violated the law when it approved oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Chukchi sea without sufficient information and analysis about risks to the Arctic environment. A different court found similar flaws with Arctic drilling plans in 2009.
Yet, President Obama's administration has so far failed to revisit protections for the Chukchi - arctic waters off Alaska's coast that are home to some of America's remaining polar bears and key to the survival of Inupiat Eskimo communities.
Please urge President Obama to take action now to save polar bears, bowhead whales and other wildlife - and the Alaska Native communities that rely on their health to survive - by preventing the next offshore drilling disaster.
The Obama administration has asked the court in Alaska to allow activities that would pave the way for drilling to proceed, potentially jeopardizing an area key to the survival of not only polar bears, but also bowhead whales, Pacific walrus and other wildlife.
The Gulf oil disaster clearly demonstrates the terrible risks of offshore drilling:
And it could be much worse in the Chukchi.
Thirty years after the Exxon Valdez disaster, there is still no effective, proven technology to clean up oil spills in broken sea ice conditions in Arctic waters, such as those found in the Chukchi Sea... a problem that could doom rare Arctic whales, threatened polar bears and other wildlife to extinction and destroy Inupiat communities if drilling proceeds.
The courts and scientists have all said that more information is needed about the Arctic environment before we even consider drilling in its ice covered seas that are cloaked in darkness most of the year.
The recent court decision provides the perfect opportunity for the Obama administration to take that time and really make sure we can protect the environment - before we jeopardize this fragile place, its wildlife and the people who count on it for the survival of their communities.
To avoid another catastrophic offshore drilling disaster like the one now threatening the communities and wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico - and another Exxon-Valdez-like oil spill - we need a responsible approach to protecting the Chukchi.
The Valdez spill decimated fisheries and continues to impact local wildlife and Alaskan communities to this day. And the Gulf oil disaster has killed thousands of animals and will impact the region's fragile ecosystems for years to come.
Alaska native communities, polar bears... and the rest of America deserve better. Please send President Obama a message right now.
Thanks for all you do,