09/26/2011 - President Barack Obama’s administration should add to protection for Arctic wildlife as the U.S. moves to allow oil-drilling off the Alaska coast next year, a study commissioned by environmental groups said.
The U.S. government should make special efforts to avoid harm in the most sensitive habitats and gather comprehensive data about seals, walruses and bowhead whales of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, where Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) has bought leases, and the research should be publicly accessible, according to a report released today by the Pew Environment Group and the Washington-based Ocean Conservancy.
The study was issued on the last day of public comments for an updated environmental study of Chukchi Sea oil leases. Shell, based in The Hague, spent $2.1 billion for leases in 2008 and hasn’t yet drilled a well because environmental and native groups disputed the auction. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will decide whether to affirm or cancel the sale now that the new review is finished.
“When it comes to the fragile Arctic, science, not politics, needs to guide decision-making,” Marilyn Heiman, Pew’s U.S. Arctic director, said in a statement. Additional research is needed “if we are to avoid irreparable harm to an ecosystem found nowhere else in U.S. waters.”
Read the full article, Arctic Needs More Oil-Drilling Protection, Pew, Ocean Conservancy Find, on the Bloomberg Web site.