Obama administration moves to restore protection of American coasts from dangers of offshore drilling

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Drilling ban should be extended to include Arctic waters


  • Obama administration officials announced this afternoon that they will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan
  • Oil and gas companies continue to pursue drilling off of Alaskan shores, in the Arctic’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas
  • Today’s decision reverses the administration’s previous decision, less than a month before the disastrous BP Deepwater Horizon blowout last March, approving new offshore drilling off of Virginia, North Carolina’s Outer Banks and both coasts of Florida
WASHINGTON (12/01/2010) -

The following is a statement by Richard Charter, offshore drilling expert and senior policy advisor for Defenders of Wildlife:

“The administration’s decisive move to restore protection of much of America’s coasts from the dangers of offshore drilling for the next five years demonstrates that it took the hard lessons of the BP Gulf oil disaster to heart. We continue to witness the devastation that drilling operations can have on our economy, coastal communities and wildlife. Prohibiting oil and gas exploration in these fragile areas is the only way to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again.

“The President now needs to apply the same lessons to the more immediate and very dangerous plans for offshore drilling in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Ocean, where long dark winters and the absence of response infrastructure, combined with the complete lack of effective spill cleanup capabilities, would lead to catastrophic impacts.

“We are confident that further scientific studies of the impacts of drilling in the Arctic will show that the drilling ban should be extended to this region as well.”  


Learn more about the threats offshore drilling poses to the Arctic. 


Caitlin Leutwiler, (202) 772-3226, cleutwiler@defenders.org
Richard Charter, (707) 875-2345, rcharter@defenders.org

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