Oceana | Protecting the World's Oceans

President Obama: Protect the Arctic Ocean

25 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, a message to President Obama still rings true: we can't afford another spill.

On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS) spewed nearly 11 million gallons of toxic oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Home to iconic wildlife and a hub for Alaskan tourism and commercial fishing, 1,300 miles of Alaska’s coastline were hit by the spill. As a result, as many as 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 900 bald eagles, and hundreds of thousands of seabirds died in the days following the disaster.

Now 25 years after EVOS and four years after the Deepwater Horizon spill—which were both the result of human error, improperly functioning equipment, and inadequate government oversight—the Obama Administration is facing tough decisions about offshore development in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean. As Shell’s accident-ridden 2012 exploration season in Alaska’s waters demonstrated, we’re not yet holding Big Oil accountable to conduct safe and responsible drilling offshore in marine waters. Another accident could put the lives of seals, beluga whales, and polar bears at risk and could damage the fragile Arctic environment for decades to come. There is no reason to move forward to allow oil and gas activities now.

Ask President Obama to protect fragile Arctic habitats by preventing drilling in the Arctic Ocean, as it currently cannot be done safely and responsibly.

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