The U.S. Arctic Ocean supports unique species found nowhere else in the country, and the region is home to indigenous Iñupiat communities that have thrived on its bounty for thousands of years.

But now, the Arctic climate is changing rapidly, with declines in sea ice making the region more accessible for commercial interests, such as oil and gas activities. Operations in these remote and challenging waters pose significant environmental risks, including oil spills, noise pollution, and economic impacts. Pew believes that a balance must be struck between responsible economic development and preservation of ecosystem integrity and function in the Arctic Ocean’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas. To achieve this, Pew seeks to provide solutions on two fronts:

Protection of Important Marine Areas

Safeguarding important marine areas can help the rapidly changing Arctic environment remain healthy, while providing local communities and the businesses that have invested there with more certainty about the future management of the region. 

Arctic-Specific Standards for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration

Balanced management also requires world-class Arctic-specific drilling standards for industry that improve safety and help prevent spills.


Arctic Standards: Recommendations on Oil Spill Prevention, Response, and Safety

Quick View

The search for oil is reaching into ever more remote corners of the world, including the U.S. Arctic Ocean. Diminishing sea ice is opening Arctic waters to increased industrial activities such as shipping and oil and gas development.