Dear Obama: How Could You Approve Drilling in Arctic Ocean?

It's not easy to get the President’s attention.

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It’s not easy to get the President’s attention. He’s a busy guy, and despite sending him thousands of comment letters and making hundreds of phone calls, he just doesn’t seem to understand that Americans don’t want oil drilling in the fragile waters of the Arctic Ocean. These waters are home to polar bears, walrus, bowhead whales and other endangered species. They provide bounty for Native subsistence communities. A spill in these waters would be an environmental disaster unlike any other. The nearest coast guard station is over a thousand miles away, and the frozen seas are battered with heavy winds and ice floes dozens of feet wide.

Well, we’re turning up the volume on our call for Arctic Ocean protections. This week, we’re running an ad in the New York Times and another in Politico, along with radio ads on local talk news stations in Washington, D.C. that ask President Obama, “Why would you allow unsafe drilling in the Arctic Ocean?”

It’s been just over a year since the Deepwater Horizon explosion released a torrent of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It took hundreds of boats and thousands of workers more than three months to clean up that disaster. If a similar spill occurred in the Arctic Ocean, the disaster would be greater than any our country has seen. Shell Oil wants to begin drilling as early as Summer 2012, yet the only tests ever done to try and clean up oil spilled in the Arctic Ocean were a complete failure.

President Obama has the authority to delay Arctic Ocean drilling until sound science shows that any oil spilled in these waters can be cleaned up safely and thoroughly. We’ll continue to get his attention in any way we can so he and his administration realize that Americans don’t want to risk the Arctic Ocean.

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

Opened in 1978, our Alaska regional office works to safeguard public lands, waters, and wildlife from destructive oil and gas drilling, mining, and logging, and to protect the region's marine and coastal ecosystems.