The Oil Spill Commission and Alaska’s Senators Agree: America Needs Better Response Capabilities and More Science in the Arctic - Oceana USA

The Oil Spill Commission and Alaska’s Senators Agree: America Needs Better Response Capabilities and More Science in the Arctic

Oceana Praises Senator Begich for Introducing Arctic Oil Spill Bills, While Appalled by Former EPA Administrator William Reilly’s Remarks to Congress Regarding Drilling in the Arctic

Press Release Date: January 27, 2011

Location: Juneau, AK


Dustin Cranor, APR | email: | tel: 954.348.1314


Juneau, AK- Wednesday, the co-chairs of the National Oil Spill Commission appeared before Senate and House committees to sell their thoughts for changing the way offshore drilling is conducted. During testimony William Reilly stated that with the right steps, drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea this summer would be consistent with their report, which Oceana believes is not fully consistent with the specific Arctic recommendations in their report. While in the same day Senator Mark Begich introduced bills designed to greatly improve oil spill response and research in Arctic waters. Oceana urges congress to ensure that sound science and preparedness guide decisions about whether to allow offshore drilling in the Arctic and, if so, under what conditions.

“Alaska Senators and the National Oil Spill Commission are all consistent in highlighting that we need increased science and preparedness in the Arctic, and we strongly advocate for Congress to move forward with addressing those recommendations by moving Senator Begich’s legislation” said Oceana Pacific Director, Susan Murray. “However, for William Reilly to suggest America will be ready to drill this summer in the Arctic is wholly premature and inconsistent with their recommendations. 

All three of Senator Begich’s bills promote responsible development by initiating comprehensive Arctic oil spill research and planning.

Currently there is no proven method of cleaning up an oil spill in Arctic conditions; there are no trained personnel or equipment in the region capable of carrying out an effective response plan; and there is a clear lack of basic scientific information about the ocean ecosystem.  The vibrancy and biodiversity of the Arctic ecosystem depends on how we manage future development.  Oceana will continue to work towards ensuring a productive and sustainable Arctic community and ecosystem. 


Oceana’s team of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America, Europe, South and Central America. Please visit