To: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic!
Polar bears drowning in oil. Whales inhaling toxic oil fumes. Threatened eiders potentially decimated, and distinct populations of salmon obliterated. These are just some of the impacts the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) predicts would be the result of a large oil spill in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Lease Sale 193. According to your analysis, Mr. Cruikshank, there's a three out of four chance of a spill if you allow drilling in the Chukchi Sea, north of Alaska. This is an unacceptable risk.
In April 2014, the National Academy of Science's National Research Council made it clear we don't know enough about oil in US Arctic conditions to clean it up. There isn't enough infrastructure on Alaska's North Slope to even respond with conventional clean up technology. Your own document shows that measures used to "clean" a spill, like chemical dispersants and burning the oil, would add threats to marine animals. This should make it clear: drilling for oil in the US Arctic poses too large a threat to be allowed.
Shell tried in to drill in the Chukchi Sea in 2012. Its drill ship ran aground and caught fire; and the EPA found that its equipment was inadequate to control pollution. There's no reason to believe Shell can be trusted to drill safely in the Arctic Ocean. Even with its history of mishaps, this company made it clear that it intends to drill in its leases in 2015 when it filed its exploration plan with the BOEM in August 2014.
You have failed to account for the climate change impacts of the 4.3 billion barrels of oil being hauled out of the Chukchi Sea. Saying the contribution to climate change would be "negligible" is disingenuous. This fall, over 400,000 people marched in New York City to call for urgent action on our climate. You cannot ignore the impact that the burning of 4.3 billion barrels of oil will have on the global climate and the rapidly melting Arctic from which it will be extracted.
It is clear that this lease sale is too dangerous to allow. I strongly urge you and Secretary Jewell to invalidate the lease sale and to make the Arctic off limits to oil exploration and development.
Why is this important?
Government reports show that if Shell drills for oil in the Arctic, there is a 75% chance of a large oil spill. Tell the U.S. government to protect polar bears and other wildlife by stopping Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic.