Oceana Says More Work to be Done in Arctic
Administration right to seek science-based approach in Alaska waters
Press Release Date: April 13, 2010
Location: Juneau, AK
Oceana’s Pacific Division continues to receive news about Arctic oil leasing policy from the Obama Administration with cautious optimism. Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hosted a press conference to discuss the administration’s Arctic Studies Initiative it says will inform oil and gas decisions for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
“Oceana has long advocated for a cautious, science-first approach to resource development,” said Oceana Arctic Project Manager Dr. Chris Krenz. “The Obama Administration seems to recognize that much more science is needed, and that we need to focus particular attention on the challenges of spills and spill response in icy Arctic waters.”
While new lease sales in the Arctic have been cancelled, pending research, Bush-era leases in the Chukchi Sea remain in place. The decisions to hold that lease sale and to approve exploration drilling on those leases and in the Beaufort Sea have been challenged in court by Alaska Native entities, local communities, and conservation organizations.
“This new plan is a step in the right direction, and we need to go the rest of the way to fix the bad Bush leases and put in place comprehensive, precautionary management,” said Oceana Pacific Senior Counsel Michael LeVine. “We can solve this problem if we let science and community involvement, rather than litigation, lead the way.”
“There’s still much more work to be done,” Krenz said, “and that includes a fiscal commitment. We need a dedicated source of revenue to support the research that will tell us how to safely develop our energy resources while protecting our critical marine ecosystems.”