Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama Offshore Oil Plan a Disaster for Wildlife and Climate

March 31, 2010
11:45 AM
Brendan Cummings, Center for Biological Diversity, (760) 366-2232 x 304

Obama Offshore Oil Plan a Disaster for Wildlife and Climate
WASHINGTON - March 31 - Today President Obama released details of a new national offshore oil-drilling plan that would greatly expand oil leasing far beyond that which was ever authorized by the Bush administration. Prime polar bear habitat in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska, opened for leasing under the Bush administration, would remain open to development, while large swaths of the Atlantic Coast and eastern Gulf of Mexico would be opened for the first time.

"Today's announcement is unfortunately all too typical of what we have seen so far from President Obama - promises of change, a year of ‘deliberation,' and ultimately, adoption of flawed and outdated Bush policies as his own," said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Rather than bring about the change we need, this plan will further our national addiction to oil and contribute to global warming, while at the same time directly despoiling the habitat of polar bears, endangered whales, and other imperiled wildlife."

Oil development in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, home to all of America's polar bears, is strongly opposed by conservation groups as no technologies exist to clean up oil spills in icy waters. Oil development in the Beaufort Sea would likely also be visible from the shores of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Today's plan would allow existing leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to move forward while the remainder of these areas would be subject to additional leasing following further environmental studies. More>>>