Allowing oil drilling and development in the pristine and remote waters of America's Arctic Ocean and the Chukchi Sea is a risky and unnecessary venture. The rush to allow oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean moves us away from a clean energy future that doesn't rely on dirty fossil fuels. It puts a sensitive ecosystem at unnecessary risk, threatening endangered and threatened species.
Alaska's Chukchi Sea provides vital habitat for polar bears, endangered bowhead whales, walrus, beluga whales, seals, fish, and marine birds. Alaska Native communities along the Chukchi Sea practice a subsistence way of life and have depended on the resources of this sea for their cultural and nutritional well-being for thousands of years.
This remote region is one of the least understood areas of the world, and government scientists agree that more data is needed to fully understand the impacts of drilling in this sensitive region. There is also broad agreement that an oil spill in these icy, remote waters cannot be effectively cleaned up and could, as the Deepwater Horizon spill showed in the Gulf of Mexico, devastate the region.
The Arctic is feeling the effects of climate change at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea will only lead to more unsustainable carbon pollution, furthering climate change and putting the Arctic--and the rest if the planet--at risk.
As your agency considers responses to the call for information, please also step back and reassess whether to open the Arctic Ocean to oil drilling. We cannot afford to open the Chukchi Sea to more oil leasing. The climate consequences are dire, and the risks to this vibrant but sensitive region are too great. Do not open the Chukchi Sea to more unsafe oil drilling that will only feed our unsustainable addiction to oil.