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WWF Statement on Proposed Obama Administration Oil and Gas Leases

In response to today’s Obama Administration decision opening new areas to offshore oil and gas leasing, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director of US Arctic Programs:

"Today’s decision will protect some key parts of America’s Arctic Ocean, recognizing there is no undo button when it comes to wisely managing these precious resources. Biological hotspots like Hanna Shoal are too ecologically important to expose them to risky offshore drilling. As the US takes the helm of the Arctic Council this year, protecting biodiversity needs to be a top priority for all Arctic nations.

"But rather than opening more of the Arctic and other US coastal waters to drilling for dirty energy, the US needs to ramp-up its transition to a clean energy future. As the Administration works to rally international leaders behind a bold climate pact in 2015, decisions to tap new fossil fuel reserves off our own coasts sends mixed signals about US climate leadership abroad.

"Encouraging further oil exploration in this harsh, unpredictable environment at a time when oil companies have no way of cleaning up spills threatens the health of our oceans and local communities they support. When the Deepwater Horizon spilled 210 million gallons of crude oil five years ago, local wildlife, communities and economies were decimated. We cannot allow that to happen in the Arctic or anywhere else."