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The Obama Administration has decided to remove Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea leases from the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. This means that companies will not be able to obtain the right to drill in pristine and vulnerable Arctic waters.
The decision protects Arctic wildlife that are found nowhere else on Earth, like polar bears, bearded seals, walruses and bowhead whales. It also ensures that offshore drilling in the Arctic won’t contribute to climate change in a region that’s already warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world.
Offshore drilling is risky, and in the Arctic it’s as dangerous as dangerous gets. A major oil spill in the remote and icy waters of the Arctic would be all but impossible to clean up. In fact, there is very little infrastructure and very few resources to support a cleanup effort. An oil spill at the top of the world would be a disaster for the people and wildlife who depend on a healthy Arctic Ocean for survival.
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