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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

A Reason to Celebrate Earth Day: No Arctic Ocean Drilling

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 April 2013, 3:20 PM
Three years after Gulf oil spill, Big Oil remains absent from Arctic
Earth Day is observed on April 22 each year to raise awareness of environmental issues.

Perhaps you’ve already read the good news by our crackerjack Alaska attorney Holly Harris, who reported that ConocoPhillips is the latest Big Oil company to postpone drilling in the oft-treacherous waters of the Arctic Ocean. Shell previously announced it was abandoning plans to drill there this year. A combination of Arctic fury and years of Earthjustice legal work is why that ocean continues to be free from drill rigs.

This is particularly good news given that tomorrow is Earth Day and yesterday was the third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. This mega-disaster is the best advertisement we can imagine for why risky oil exploration such as this cannot safely be done in the fragile, ice-choked seas of the Arctic, where even the slightest spill may be catastrophic to the ecosystem, its already threatened and endangered species, and the native peoples who subsist there.

Damages from the Deepwater Horizon spill are only now being addressed in court proceedings, but no court can make a ruling that replaces the irreplaceable. That’s what is at stake in the Arctic, and that’s why Earthjustice will continue fighting to protect it from those who are only risking dollars.

Oil drilling must not be allowed in the Arctic whatsoever. Oil companies have recently proved many times over they cannot be trusted to drill safely. What guarantee is there of safe drilling in a place in icy conditions, which make drilling riskier and spill cleanups more difficult?

Thank you,

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