Tell President Obama: Don't drill the Arctic
In 2010 President Obama oversaw the worst oil disaster in our nation’s history. As an unstoppable torrent of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico for three straight months, he addressed the nation, urging, “we cannot consign our children to this future,” and “the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.”*
But today, rather than heed his own words, he seems more determined to break his own record.
The Obama administration last week issued Shell a conditional approval to drill in the Arctic, one of the most dangerous and risky places to drill for oil on earth. Shell still needs a final permit, which it is almost certain to get – unless we can force the president to change course.
Tell President Obama: Don’t drill the Arctic. Sign the petition and we’ll deliver it to the president with the text of his speech from the Gulf oil spill.
No one can safely drill in the Arctic. The Department of Interior has said there is a 75% chance of a spill greater than 1,000 barrels.1 The last time Shell tried drilling in 2012, its drilling rig ran aground in rough Arctic waters. This year, one of its drilling rigs has already failed a Coast Guard inspection.
At a time when global warming is already melting polar ice at an alarming rate, allowing Shell to unleash the Arctic’s massive pool of carbon on our atmosphere is literally crazy. As Bill McKibben wrote last week in the New York Times, “It’s as if the tobacco companies were applying for permission to put cigarette machines in cancer wards.”2
Tell President Obama: Don’t drill the Arctic.
Of all people, President Obama should know better. But rather than trying not to repeat the Gulf oil spill, the President is using it to dismiss criticism of this terrible decision. “I think it's fair to say that I know a little something about the risks of offshore drilling, given what happened in the Gulf very early in my presidency,” he said last week.
The decision doesn’t just show a short memory and terrible judgement. Allowing arctic drilling underscores the dangerous and deeply flawed logic behind President Obama’s "all of the above" energy policy – that we can drill, frack and mine our way to a clean energy future.
That’s deeply concerning as we await President Obama’s decision on Keystone XL and other infrastructure projects that would massively increase the extraction of tar sands crude.
It’s been five years since President Obama called out that “we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires” because of “a lack of political courage and candor.” Yet he still is trying to have it both ways.
We know that President Obama does respond to public pressure. It has staved off approval of Keystone XL. And now we need it more than ever to save the Arctic.
Tell President Obama: Don’t drill the Arctic. Sign the petition and we’ll deliver it to the president with his own words from the Gulf oil catastrophe.
Excerpt from President Obama’s Gulf oil spill address:
“For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked -- not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.
The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.
We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.”
- "As Shell Looks To Drill In Arctic, Environmentalists Rally To Remember Historic Arctic Oil Spill," Think Progress, 3/24/15
- "Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial," Bill McKibben, New York Times, 5/12/15