Oceana Calls for Science and Planning, Not Rush to Put Arctic at Risk | Oceana

Oceana Calls for Science and Planning, Not Rush to Put Arctic at Risk

Press Release Date: May 20, 2011

Location: Juneau, AK


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

Juneau, AK – Susan Murray, Oceana’s Senior Pacific Director, issued the following statement in response to BOEMRE’s Revised Draft SEIS that intends to address significant deficiencies in the environmental analysis supporting the decision to offer millions of acres of oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea:

“Americans deserve affordable energy and healthy oceans.  We can reach that goal by relying on good science, being prepared, and having a full and fair public dialogue.  Unfortunately, BOEMRE has not fixed any of the problems identified by the court about missing information.  It still concludes that basic information about the ocean—including where and when animals feed and migrate, how they might react to oil drilling, and other baseline information—simply is not important.  It reached that conclusion without waiting for the US Geological Survey to finish its report, which is due out any day, about important gaps in scientific information about the Arctic.  Once again, BOEMRE has put the cart before the horse.  The agency does take a good first step by analyzing the potential environmental effects of a hypothetical Very Large Oil Spill. That analysis further highlights the need to take a step back and look at the gaps defined by the President’s Oil Spill Commission, learn from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and take the appropriate time to develop an Arctic plan. 

“Currently there is no proven method of cleaning up an oil spill in Arctic conditions; there is not sufficient infrastructure in the region capable of carrying out an effective spill response plan; and there is a clear lack of basic scientific information about the ocean ecosystem.

“We should do what is best for Arctic Ocean and those who depend on it, not what is best for an oil company’s bottom line. The vibrancy and biodiversity of the Arctic ecosystem depend on how we manage future development.  Oceana will continue to work towards ensuring a productive and sustainable Arctic community and ecosystem.”


Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.