Obama Administration Lays Out Plan for Future Arctic Leases

Arctic IcebreakerOn Tuesday, June 26, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar laid out the next steps for drilling in the U.S. Arctic and cleared the way for a new five-year offshore leasing plan to be issued later this week. In order to protect America's extreme, remote, and fragile Arctic Ocean, exploration should not proceed without first protecting important biological areas and establishing Arctic-specific oil-spill prevention and response standards.

The Interior Department has taken several steps, such as using science as a guide for decision-making and listening to indigenous communities, which will lessen the impacts of leasing. In abandoning the “one-size-fits-all” approach to drilling in sensitive areas, the department acknowledged that the Arctic poses unique environmental and safety challenges and must be treated differently. Pew will continue to work with the Interior Department to ensure subsistence and biologically important areas in the Arctic are protected.

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Media Contact: Mary Engel

Topics: Oceans, Environment

Project: Protecting Life in the Arctic