The Trump administration is pushing ahead with plans to allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean, looking to un-do the recent five-year plan for offshore leasing and kick-start the process of issuing new leases in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea, just off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
America’s Arctic Ocean, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, provides habitat for countless species of wildlife and is central to life in coastal communities. This is one of the most unique marine ecosystems in the world, home to the entire population of U.S. polar bears. Many of America’s most beloved marine creatures thrive here, including whales, walrus, seals and countless birds. This marine wildlife, especially the endangered bowhead whale, is vital to the survival of the subsistence culture of the Inupiat people of Alaska’s North Slope.
The Arctic Ocean also plays an important role in regulating the world’s climate, and whether or not the U.S. drills in the Arctic will have a major impact on the global effort to address climate change. The Arctic is warming at about twice the rate of the rest of the world, sea ice continues to decline, and Arctic waters are quickly becoming more acidic. One powerful way we can slow the effects of climate change is to limit the amount of fossil fuels we are burning, and an effective way to do that is to not open up new areas to intensive drilling and protect the most important ecological areas in the Arctic Ocean.
The Obama administration took bold steps to protect America’s Arctic Ocean and put us on the right path to protect the Arctic from risky and reckless oil drilling in the future. These protections are now under threat from the Trump administration. The good news: citizens nationwide, from Alaska to Florida to New York, continue to stand up to keep fossil fuels in the ground! See the video: