Senator Merkley Continues Fight Against Arctic Drilling

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined by Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ed Markey (D-MA) have reinforced their commitment to the fight for our climate with the introduction of the "Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015." Proposed just before a nationwide Day of Action against Shell's plans to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, the bill would have Congress acknowledge the realities of climate change and diffuse the imminent threat to our climate that Arctic drilling represents.

Moved by the massive threat that drilling poses to both our planet's climate and the pristine ecosystems of the Arctic, Americans from every corner of the country are mounting strong and growing opposition to the Obama administration's folly in allowing Shell to proceed with exploration. Activists have protested en-masse in the Seattle Harbor and will do so again this Saturday in cities across the country. Business leaders, scientists, indigenous peoples, and A-list celebrities have all come out to scream "Shell No!" And now there is a bill in the upper chamber of our legislature advancing the need to defend against Big Oil's profit driven disregard for our obligation to protect this and future generations from dangerous climate disruption.

President Obama and his advisors should heed--not hide--from the facts about drilling in the Arctic. Commercial exploitation of these reserves is wholly incompatible with the goal of keeping average global warming below 2° Celsius, a goal that the United States committed at the latest meeting of the G7 in June. There is a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill, as determined by the Department of Interior. Shell has continued its irresponsible pattern of risk-taking behavior and revealed a lack of preparedness for the harsh Arctic environment. And when a spill occurs, we know the capacity does not exist to effectively remove the tar from the ocean or mitigate its devastating impacts.

The "Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015" represents a call to reason and is tangible proof of the force behind the movement to protect the Arctic and our climate from reckless drilling.

To add your voice to the growing chorus calling for our elected leaders to Save the Arctic and the Climate, please join us in one of nearly a dozen cities on Saturday to show President Obama that this is a fight we won't back down from. You can find more information here: http://ourarcticocean.org/

About the Authors

Franz Matzner

Deputy Director, Federal Campaigns, Center for Policy Advocacy

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