Proposed Leasing Program Continues to Expose Arctic Ocean to Dangerous Offshore Drilling

Offers limited exclusion areas


Erik Grafe, Earthjustice, (907) 792-7102

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today released its proposed five-year offshore leasing program for 2017-2022. In the program, the Administration recognizes the threats posed by drilling in the Arctic Ocean, as evident in its decision to place some areas off limits to leasing. However, the proposed program continues to schedule lease sales in the vast majority of this remote, fragile and rapidly warming region, despite major risks, obstacles, and climate change concerns.   

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Staff Attorney Erik Grafe:

“Searching for oil in the Arctic Ocean is incompatible with urgently needed climate action and can’t be done in ways that protect the irreplaceable values of the Arctic Ocean.  

“As the international scientific community and President Obama recognize, we cannot develop the vast majority of already known oil reserves if we are to avoid the worst climate change consequences.  

“Now is not the time to prospect for new reserves in the Arctic Ocean. President Obama rightly precluded leasing in some important areas in the Arctic Ocean. But, to protect those areas, the region, and the planet, the President must keep any new Arctic Ocean leasing out of the five year plan.”


The Kulluk, one of Shell's oil drilling rigs  for the Arctic.
The Kulluk, one of Shell's oil drilling rigs for the Arctic. (James Mason for Earthjustice)

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