Dear Mr. President: Time Out on Arctic Drilling

National ad campaign urges Obama to pause for more science on Arctic

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Today, we joined a broad coaltion of groups to run full page ads in the Washington Post and the New York Times that call upon President Obama to stop drilling in the Arctic Ocean planned for this summer.

The ads are sponsored by Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska Wilderness League, the World Wildlife Fund, Pacific Environment, Audubon, Oceana, and The Wilderness Society. The ads say:

"In early July, with President Obama’s approval, Shell Oil will begin offshore drilling in a remote region of the Arctic Ocean, an area known for some of the most hostile weather conditions on the planet. Twenty foot seas and gale force winds can bombard the area for days on end. Drifting ice and continual darkness in winter make the Arctic offshore region virtually inaccessible much of the year. If a blowout like the Gulf BP disaster did happen in the Arctic, mobilizing a response would be virtually impossible. The closest village (population 428) doesn’t have the infrastructure, such as onshore docks, to support a serious cleanup operation. And the closest Coast Guard station is over 1,000 miles away. When you consider that the cleanup in the Gulf was postponed for days because of only eight foot seas, it could literally be months before a spill could be brought under control.

The devastation could be catastrophic not only for Alaska Natives, who depend on the sea to survive, but for myriad species including whales, walruses, polar bears, birds and fish that populate one of the earth’s most fragile and vital ecosystems. The oil companies need to learn the lessons of the Gulf disaster. And so do our elected officials."

Grab a copy of today’s New York Times or Washington Post and take a look!

Jared was the head coach of Earthjustice's advocacy campaign team from 2004 to 2014.