Target: Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell
Goal: Stop Arctic Oil Lease Sales to prevent oil spillage that can cause severe impact on the ocean, marine life and people.
The Royal Dutch Shell, a major oil company, is planning to drill in the Chukchi Sea, which is part of America’s Arctic Ocean North of Alaska. The move could spell doom for one of the greatest untouched oceanic environments. The Arctic seas of Alaska are still home to iconic species such as whales, birds, polar bears, fish, seals, walruses and other sub-sea life.
The Arctic Ocean can be termed as one of the last marine ecological paradises because it is also home to Alaska communities that have depended on the ocean for the longest time for their subsistence lifestyle. The drilling is dangerous in Arctic waters because no technology exists for cleaning up a major oil spill in the faraway sea that is choked with ice, and has harsh environmental conditions. In addition, the Chukchi Sea and its coast are extremely remote.
Despite the setbacks, Shell recently announced that, after a two-year hiatus, it was going to drill in the Chukchi Sea. A few weeks later, the United States government issued is environmental statement where the drilling will take place, bringing shell’s dream a step closer to reality. It seems the company’s motive is to establish itself as the leader in arctic drilling and exploration despite its poor safety record in the region.
An oil spill in the Arctic Ocean would be disastrous for Arctic life, such as whales, polar bears and walruses. Also, do not forget that Shell has had a bad reputation when it comes to drilling. The company has had its drills grounded in the past to the extent of being fined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for environmental pollution.
Despite the dangers, federal officials are planning lease sales to give away portions of the Arctic Ocean to this company. A spill around this region would only mean unprecedented environmental disaster, not forgetting that oil production in the Arctic Ocean will further increase climate change.
Dear Sally Jewell,
I am writing this letter to urge you reassess the position of the Department of Interior on offshore drilling in the Arctic. The Arctic Ocean is a fragile and irreparable environment that is now at risk of a serious oil spill. Granting the lease could spell doom to some iconic species around the region including whales, polar bears and walruses. Also, consider that Alaskan communities have depended on the ocean for their subsistence lifestyle. The long-term climate effects of producing oil in the Arctic Ocean together with the impact on the ocean, marine life and people is too high.
There is no sufficient reason to believe that this company can be trusted to drill safely in the Arctic Ocean, especially considering its poor safety record. I think the federal government failed to assess the environmental risk of drilling in the Chukchi Sea because it is evident that the lease sale is too risky to be allowed. I strongly urge you to invalidate the lease sale and make the Arctic off limits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Charles Conatzer & the sHellNo! Action Council