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Earthjustice Statement on Obama Administration Decision to Cancel Arctic Lease Sales for 2016-17

Victory: After Shell’s Departure from the Chukchi Sea, Administration takes next step to protect Arctic Ocean

Shell Oil Company has announced that it is ceasing its Arctic Ocean oil exploration campaign immediately, at least for now.

James Mason
October 16, 2015
Anchorage, AK —

Today the Interior Department announced it would cancel upcoming oil and gas lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas scheduled for 2016 and 2017, following Shell’s decision to end for the foreseeable future its oil exploration efforts in the Arctic Ocean.  Also today, the agency announced that it had denied requests for extensions of leases currently held by Shell and Statoil in the Arctic Ocean. Those leases are set to expire in 2017 and 2020.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Erik Grafe:

“We congratulate the Interior Department on taking these two important steps toward protection of the Arctic Ocean from the threats of drilling in this fragile ecosystem which is experiencing the effects of climate change at a faster rate than anywhere else on earth.  President Obama now has the opportunity to end oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean permanently and invest in a cleaner energy future.”


Maggie Caldwell, Earthjustice, 415-217-2084,

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