President Obama, Please...Look Before You Leap

Publication: Politico, The Hill and Roll Call

10/13/2009 - Dear Mr. President:

On September 16, more than 400 distinguished scientists from around the world sent a letter urging you to defer proposed large-scale oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off the northern coast of Alaska. They pointed out that the U.S. Arctic Ocean’s sensitive marine ecosystems, already stressed by rapidly melting summer ice, are undergoing profound changes and are especially vulnerable to oil spills and other damage caused by industrial activity.

Before permitting any new offshore drilling in the U.S. Arctic, it’s critical that we carry out careful scientific research to determine where and under what conditions this kind of activity can be safely conducted. We also need comprehensive planning in consultation with Alaska Natives to better understand and avoid any negative impacts. Let’s not endanger this vital habitat further with a headlong rush to offshore drilling.

Sound science and careful planning must come first.

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