Target: Barack Obama, President of the United States
Goal: Applaud President Obama’s decision to block the sale of new drilling permits off the coast of Alaska.
On his way out, President Obama has taken a big step in protecting the Arctic Ocean from destructive oil drilling projects. The Obama administration blocked the sale of new permits to drill in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the coast of Alaska, until the year 2022. Environmentalists have argued for years that drilling in the Arctic would disrupt the fragile ecosystem there, and also contribute to climate change. President Obama’s decision was influenced in part by public support, including this ForceChange petition.
The plan also put a halt to companies’ plans to drill for oil and natural gas off the coast of southeastern states, including Virginia. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel stated that “the plan focuses on lease sales in the best places — those with highest resource potential, lowest conflict, and established infrastructure — and removes regions that are simply not right to lease.” Many are lauding this decision as an important move that prioritizes science, economics, and common sense over industry favoritism — with the notable exception of oil and gas representatives, who have called the plan short-sighted and worry that it will cost American jobs.
Of course, the protection is only temporary. The next step, hopefully, will be establishing a permanent ban on Arctic drilling as our country transitions away from fossil fuels entirely, to sustainable sources of energy. However, those concerned about the incoming president’s power to reverse this decision may be comforted to know that the nature of the plan prevents it from being tossed out immediately. The new administration would have to prepare a supplemental report, which could take as long as two years, to begin undoing the five-year ban. Add your voice to support President Obama’s decision to protect Arctic and Atlantic ecosystems from the destruction of offshore drilling, and to send a message to the president-elect that the public supports this policy.
Dear Mr. President,
I would like to express my deep support for the plan passed by your administration to halt offshore drilling in the Arctic. Environmental advocates have long argued that drilling is harmful to the fragile Arctic ecosystem, and I applaud your efforts to protect this ecosystem and prevent further contribution to climate change.
As I’m sure you’re aware, many have been concerned about the environmental repercussions of policies proposed by our new president-elect. Your dedication to protecting precious natural resources and keeping our nation on a safe course to avoid catastrophic climate change is admirable, and I hope that these measures will hold strong in the years to come. Thank you for making the environment a priority in your final days in office.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Charles Conatzer