Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Thank President Obama for reversing his decision to allow oil drilling in the Arctic.
In a bold move, the Obama administration announced it is canceling two Arctic drilling lease agreements it had planned over the next two and a half years and is further denying two oil companies’ requests to extend existing leases. This announcement comes on the heels of Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to pull out of the Arctic.
Environmentalists have long been opposed to offshore gas and oil drilling and have asked Obama to prohibit its continuation. This environmental victory, while certain to upset the oil industry, was made with practical considerations in mind.
Arctic drilling is incredibly challenging and frequently an economic drain due to the technology and equipment needed to even attempt to locate oil and gas below the ocean floor. This cost is passed along to consumers. The Arctic environment is also harsh and unforgiving for workers. These factors when coupled with the extreme environmental impacts led to the decision to cancel future leases and deny renewal of two in existence. Other companies with drilling leases have yet to request lease renewal.
The two current leases, which were denied renewal, belong to Shell’s Chukchi and Norway’s Statoil. Chukchi’s lease expires in 2020 and Statoil’s in 2017. Letters to each company stated the reason for non-renewal was that the companies failed to show sufficient evidence that they would take advantage of the leases if they were extended. Based on a statement by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewitt, leases and renewals may be available again in another year and a half. This year and a half is an excellent time for investors in renewable energy sources to take hold of the market.
Thank President Obama and his administration for listening to environmental activists, including those from the ForceChange community, and taking this bold step to protect the Arctic.
Dear President Obama,
The announcement to cancel new Artic drilling leases and deny renewal of others is a strong step towards securing a more environmentally friendly future. Royal Dutch Shell’s decision to pull out of their Arctic drilling program was strong evidence that it’s not always viable and has negative public relations impacts.
Environmental activists and scientists applaud this action for both its practical and environmental implications. We thank you, and your administration, for putting the environment ahead of oil companies’ desire for profits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Minerals Management Service