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Federal Assessment Reiterates Risk of Offshore Drilling in America's Arctic

In response to today’s draft Obama Administration analysis of the effects of oil and gas leasing in the Chukchi Sea, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director of Arctic programs:

"I can’t think of a riskier and more ill-suited place on Earth to drill for oil than the open Chukchi Sea. If an accident were to occur in the Chukchi, it will be the wildlife and the people of coastal Alaska who will bear the burden.

"Experts and people all across the Arctic have repeatedly warned of the risks associated with drilling in this extreme environment. A pattern of failed attempts and narrowly avoided catastrophes has proved them right. Despite decades of work, there is still no sure-fire technology that can ensure safe and environmentally-sound oil operations in Arctic waters.

"Last year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rightly determined that the federal government underestimated the potential for oil spills in the Chukchi Sea, forcing it to reexamine the leasing rights it previously sold to oil companies. Today’s revised Environmental Impact Statement reiterates that risk and is yet another reminder that offshore drilling should not be allowed in the Chukchi Sea."