WASHINGTON, DC–(ENEWSPF)–November 8, 2011. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, opening up the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Alaska to dangerous and dirty offshore oil and gas drilling. It schedules 15 potential lease sales for the five year period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.
In response, Athan Manuel, Sierra Club Director of Lands Protection, issued the following statement:
“The Sierra Club is deeply troubled by Secretary Salazar’s announcement today, which could open up the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Alaska to dangerous and dirty offshore drilling and jeopardize one of our nation’s last wild frontiers.
“Big Oil continues to brush off the dangers and high costs of offshore drilling – costs that the people of the Gulf Coast are all too familiar with and are still struggling with more than a year after the BP oil disaster.
“The risk to the fragile Arctic area and Alaska communities is clear. Spill prevention, containment and response systems are not equipped to work in challenging Arctic conditions – in short, when there is a spill in the Arctic, we will not be able to clean it up.
“We are confident that if the Interior Department does in fact ‘proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best science available,’ they will conclude that offshore drilling in the Arctic cannot be done safely.
“More drilling – whether in the Gulf or the Arctic – only destroys our land, air and water and serves to keep Americans shackled to the gas pump and beholden to Big Oil.
“Instead, we need to invest in American innovation and 21st Century transportation solutions like smarter, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, electric vehicles and mass transit to truly achieve energy security and a clean energy economy beyond oil.”