Scientists Ask President to Safeguard Important Arctic Ocean Habitats

Comment letter seeks protection for sensitive areas in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas

On June 15, 2016, 388 scientists and natural resource managers sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that no new oil and gas leasing be authorized in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas under the 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program. They also requested that careful consideration be given to ecologically important and sensitive marine habitats while honoring subsistence hunting, fishing, and other uses and access for indigenous peoples. The letter states that certain places warrant additional safeguards because they encompass especially diverse and critical environments, support high species richness, host extraordinary productivity, or otherwise sustain the resilience of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem. Pew and the National Audubon Society worked with other leading scientists to initiate the letter.