01/28/2010 - Last September, more than 400 scientists urged President Obama to defer any large-scale oil and gas leasing off the north coast of Alaska until we can settle the question of ecosystem safety. Whales, polar bears and indeed the entire Arctic food chain are already under stress from a changing climate, and no proven method yet exists for cleaning up an oil spill in these frigid and often stormy waters.
The scientists, along with thousands of other Americans, are simply asking for more time. We need to look at the potential damage to the Arctic’s fragile marine environment and to its indigenous peoples, who depend on the ocean’s bounty for their way of life. We urge the President and Interior Secretary Salazar to defer Arctic offshore drilling until careful scientific study shows it will be safe.
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