The potential for oil spills in the Arctic is increasing—Arctic sea ice is melting and making it easier for ship traffic to navigate these waters. More traffic means a higher risk of tragedy—both to people and to our ocean.
Growing levels of vessel traffic pose an increasing risk of a large oil spill that could have catastrophic impacts to Alaska Native peoples, commercial fisheries, wildlife and maritime commerce.
Recognizing this problem, Congress recently passed—and President Biden signed into law—a bill that requires the Coast Guard to establish oil spill-planning criteria specifically designed for Western and Arctic Alaska.
Given increasing levels of vessel traffic passing near the Aleutian Islands and in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas, the Coast Guard should start developing new oil spill-response criteria for this region immediately.
Will you join Ocean Conservancy in asking the U.S. Coast Guard to take steps to reduce the risks of increasing vessel traffic in the Arctic? We can’t wait—we need to put in place oil spill-prevention and response measures to increase safety and reduce risk in the Arctic waters.
The offshore waters of Western and Arctic Alaska provide vital subsistence and cultural resources to the region’s Indigenous peoples, are home to economically critical commercial fisheries, and host globally important populations of fish, birds and marine mammals.
All of this is at risk from the devastation of an oil spill. Please take action today.