The Trump administration has kicked off a plan to sell new oil and gas leases in the Beaufort Sea in the Alaskan Arctic—even though the region is currently off-limits to new leasing. We all need to speak up and tell the Administration to put on the brakes.
The government can’t sell new offshore leases in the Arctic Ocean until it develops, analyzes and completes a new five-year offshore leasing program. In its rush to sell leases in the Beaufort Sea, the Trump administration appears to be pre-determining the outcome of the national planning process.
Drilling in the Arctic Ocean could cause enormous damage. A major oil spill could have severe consequences and would be all but impossible to clean up. Even routine oil and gas operations cause noise, air and water pollution, and they generate air and vessel traffic that can have serious consequences.
And there’s a lot at stake. The Beaufort Sea hosts an amazing abundance of marine life. Beluga whales congregate along the break between the continental shelf and deeper ocean waters, while bowhead whales follow ancient seasonal pathways. Seabirds gather by the thousands to prepare for their fall migration. On the sea ice, ringed seals have dens in the snow where they raise their pups.
There’s no reason to rush toward a new and unnecessary lease sale in the Beaufort Sea. Speak up and take action today before the May 30 deadline.