the Oil slick in the Gulf is seen from a helicopter.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times / May 6, 2010)
A BP cleanup crew shovels oil from a Louisiana beach
I’m sure you’re all as frustrated, sick, and angry about the Deep Horizon oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico as I am, and I’m sure you wish there was something you could do. There is. Shell Oil wants to start offshore drilling in the Arctic this summer. We have to stop them.
Read what Robert Redford says:
Just a few months ago, the oil companies — and even President Obama — were trying to reassure us that new technology has made offshore drilling safe for the environment. The disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico has made a mockery of those claims. With oil now pouring into Louisiana’s vulnerable wetlands, the region’s people and environment are girding for a catastrophe that could last for decades, if not generations.
But, incredibly, the Obama Administration has still not canceled plans by the Shell oil company to begin exploratory drilling off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer.
If the Gulf spill had occurred where Shell is planning to drill, the oil would have already reached the shoreline of the Arctic Refuge.
We can’t afford another oil spill catastrophe, and certainly not in America’s greatest sanctuary for polar bears and other threatened wildlife.
Please urge President Obama to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer.
We can only watch in horror, day in and day out, as BP’s engineers desperately try to cap a blowout they never saw coming.
Does anyone believe that Shell will do better in the Arctic Ocean? The oil industry has no proven method for cleaning up spills in the Arctic’s ice-filled waters. Even worse, twenty-foot seas and gale force winds can bombard the Arctic Ocean for days. The closest Coast Guard station is over 1,000 miles away. Responders could take weeks simply to reach the remote site of a spill.
In the meantime, a gusher of oil could blanket the sensitive coastline of the Arctic Refuge with an irremovable layer of thick toxic goo for generations to come. Oil-covered polar bears have virtually no chance of survival. Whales would be suffocated or poisoned. Bird populations could be decimated.
Garret Graves (of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority) shows his hand after collecting oil samples near Venice, Louisiana
Why on earth is our government inviting this disaster?
We’ve seen enough destruction in the Gulf to know better. It’s time for our nation to start learning the lessons. And there’s no better place to start than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Please tell President Obama to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer.
If we are to derail Shell’s scheme, then the President needs to hear from hundreds of thousands of us just as soon as possible.
Please join me in sending a strong message to the White House today. Thank you.
Robert Redford Trustee, Natural Resources Defense Council