Pushing the Pause Button on Arctic Oil Drilling

New TV ads to run in D.C. target Obama and need for Arctic drilling pause

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We’re taking our fight against plans by Shell Oil to drill in America’s Arctic Ocean this July to the television airwaves in Washington, D.C. The 30-second spot will run beginning tomorrow nationally on CNN. It will also run on MSNBC and during the Daily Show and the Colbert Report in the D.C. region. 

You can see the ad here or watch it on the next page.

We’re very proud to have worked with Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Federation, National Wildife Federation, The Wilderness Society, and National Audubon Society to create this ad. It comes on the heels of a very succesful ad campaign last week in the Washington Post and the New York Times. We heard that people flooded the White House switchboard with telephone calls asking for a time out on Arctic drilling, so the message is certainly being delivered. Thank you to those who took the time to call the White House!

While oil continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexico (and as my colleague Brian Smith said about that last link, ("Don’t click unless you are OK with crying at your cubicle"), Shell Oil is moving right along with plans to begin exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s northern coast as early as this July. A spill in the pristine waters of the Arctic Ocean would spell disaster for whales, fish, birds, seals, polar bears and other marine wildlife.

Cleaning up an oil spill in the relatively calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico has been an extreme challenge. In the Arctic Ocean, where temperatures fall well below zero, ocean swells can reach 20 feet and huge ice flows prevent travel to most areas, it’s inconceivable to expect cleaning up to go smoothly.

Like we say in the ad, you can’t rewind an oil spill, but you can pause the next one. President Obama needs to hit the pause button on Shell Oil’s plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean this summer. Too much is at stake for us to risk one of the world’s most pristine and least understood areas.

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