Expert Profile

Marilyn Heiman

Director, U.S. Arctic
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Marilyn Heiman joined Pew in January 2009 as director of the U.S. Arctic Program, which works to protect the U.S. Arctic Ocean and its marine life from rapid industrialization made possible by the warming climate and the melting ice cap.

Before joining Pew, Heiman was campaign manager for the International Boreal Conservation Campaign, which works to protect one of the largest forest ecosystems on Earth. She served as the Secretary of Interior’s Alaska policy advisor during the Clinton administration. In that capacity, she coordinated activities of the Bureau of Land Management, the Minerals Management Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska. As Alaska representative to the Secretary of Interior, she served on the six-person Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

Previously, she was special assistant on natural resources and oceans for Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles and was director of his statewide transition team after his election in 1994. Prior to that she worked as an aide to the House Resources Committee in the Alaska legislature during the Exxon Valdez oil spill and was staff to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission.

Heiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She currently serves on the board of the Puget Sound Keeper Alliance.

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Reports & Publications

January 4, 2012

Northern Exposure (Winter 2012 Trust Magazine Article)

As melting ice opens up the once-impenetrable Arctic, Pew wants science to guide the size of man’s expanding footprint in the remote region.

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News Room

June 27, 2012

Shell Is Likely to Receive Permits for Oil Drilling Off Alaska

Marilyn Heiman, director of the U.S. Arctic Program, discusses the Obama administration's new approach to offshore oil and gas leasing in the Arctic in a New York Times article.

March 12, 2012

Dogs Take Lead in Sniffing Out Arctic Oil

Marilyn Heiman of the Pew Environment Group is quoted in an article from The Guardian.

December 7, 2011

Group Questions Arctic Drilling in Ad Campaign

An Associated Press article about the Pew Environment Group's national advertising campaign to highlight the dangers of drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic quotes U.S. Arctic program director Marilyn Heiman.

November 8, 2011

Obama Cautiously Offers More Areas for Offshore Drilling in Alaska and Gulf of Mexico

An Associated Press article on expanding offshore drilling includes a quote from the Pew Environment Group's Marilyn Heiman.

October 6, 2011

Science Must Guide Offshore Arctic Conservation, Development

Science, not politics, needs to guide decision-making in America’s extreme, remote, and fragile Arctic Ocean. If we are to avoid irreparable harm to an ecosystem found nowhere else in the country, we need to develop a comprehensive research and monitoring plan and set aside significant areas for protection

September 26, 2011

Arctic Needs More Oil-Drilling Protection, Pew, Ocean Conservancy Find

An article published by Bloomberg about Pew and the Nature Conservancy’s white paper, which reviewed a recent U.S. Geological Survey report and formulated recommendations for closing Arctic science gaps. U.S. Arctic Program director Marilyn Heiman is quoted underscoring the Pew Environment Group’s point that science should be the driver for decisions related to drilling in the Arctic.

September 26, 2011

Closing U.S. Arctic Ocean Science Gaps

The Pew Environment Group and Ocean Conservancy released a white paper today recommending concrete steps the Obama administration should take to address science gaps and inform conservation and development decisions in America’s Arctic Ocean.

September 1, 2011

Arctic Riches Lure Explorers

A Wall Street Journal article on the search for oil in the Arctic Ocean includes a quote from the Pew Environment Group's Marilyn Heiman.

March 24, 2011

What Exxon Valdez Spill Can Still Teach Us

An editorial by Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group's U.S. Arctic Program and its offshore energy reform efforts, about the lasting consequences of the Exxon Valdez spill.

March 8, 2011

First Post-Spill Offshore Oil Well Approved

A U.S. News & World Report story on the first offshore drilling permit approved since the BP spill last year quotes Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group's Offshore Energy Reform Project.

January 11, 2011

'Shared Failure' in BP Spill Cited in Panel Report

An MSNBC story on the recommendations issued by the U.S. Commission's oil spill report quotes Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew Environment Group's offshore energy reform project. 

November 10, 2010

New Report Finds Oversight Lacking for Oil Drilling in U.S. Arctic Ocean

Darkness, extreme weather and shifting sea ice could delay efforts to stop an oil well blowout in the U.S. Arctic Ocean for six months or more, trapping spewed oil in ice for up to a decade according to a report released today by the Pew Environment Group.

October 12, 2010

As Deepwater Moratorium Ends, Pew Renews Call for Legislative Reforms

As the Interior Secretary lifts the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Pew Environment Group urges the Senate to pass legislation making safety reforms permanent.

July 26, 2010

Letter from the Pew Environment Group to Members of Congress Urging Reforms of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Oil Pollution Act

A letter to Members of Congress calling for significant reforms of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

July 13, 2010

Despite New Toughness, Obama Faces Hurdles in Spill

An article from the Miami Herald on the Obama administration's response to the gulf oil spill quotes Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group's US Arctic Program.

June 24, 2010

Testimony of Marilyn Heiman before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate on Amendments to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

As with the Exxon Valdez oil spill complacency by the government, industry and citizens appears to be one of the central causes of the BP Deep Water Horizon disaster. There has been a systematic breakdown in the safety and management by industry of offshore drilling operations and a breakdown in the government‘s oversight of these operations. Regulators accepted assurances that offshore drilling technology had become so advanced that a blowout was highly unlikely, if not impossible, and citizens had few tools with which to verify those assurances. We did not do what was necessary to prevent a catastrophic oil spill, and the Gulf and its communities will suffer for decades as a result.

June 6, 2010

Tracking Down Minerals Management Service's Dysfunctional History of Drilling Oversight

The Mineral Management Service, the government agency charged with collecting revenue from gas and oil drilling must also approve permits for drilling that will generate income.  It must also contend with a shoddy record of enforcement and oversight. 

May 27, 2010

Pew Statement on Obama’s Arctic Drilling Decision

Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group’s U.S. Arctic Program, released the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s expected announcement today that any applications for exploratory drilling in the Arctic will be suspended until 2011.

May 25, 2010

How Big is the Oil Spill?

While BP announced that its attempt to insert block a leak in the main pipe currently leaking oil had succeeded, what was not mentioned is that estimates of the amount of leaking oil are being underreported due to a second, smaller leak in the pipe.

May 12, 2010

Shell’s Alaska Plans at Risk After Oil Spill

The Financial Times reports on the impact of the Gulf oil spill on Shell's plans to drill for oil in Alaska.

April 26, 2010

Protecting Our Most Productive Fishery

President Barack Obama recently announced a halt to offshore oil and gas leasing in Alaska's ecologically rich Bristol Bay, a decision that should be applauded for temporarily eliminating a serious threat to these lucrative fishing grounds

March 31, 2010

Pew Applauds Withdrawal of Bristol Bay from Oil Drilling and Cautious Approach for New U.S. Arctic Ocean Leasing

The Pew Environment Group today commended the Obama administration’s decision to withdraw Bristol Bay from its national offshore energy plan and proceed cautiously with new U.S. Arctic Ocean oil and gas leases.

August 21, 2009

Pew Commends Landmark U.S. Decision to Protect Arctic from Large-Scale Commercial Fishing

The Pew Environment Group applauds the Obama administration's landmark decision today to place a moratorium on commercial fishing in virtually the entire Arctic Ocean under U.S. jurisdiction.

July 23, 2009

Arctic Shipping: Stormy Seas or Smooth Sailing

An op-ed by Scott Highleyman and Marilyn Heiman of the Pew Environment Group urging tighter shipping regulations to protect human lives and fragile ecosystems in the Arctic.

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