For years, Shell has been vying for one environmental jewel that has remained off-limits to the company’s drill rigs: the Polar Bear Seas off the northern coast of Alaska, including the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Obama Administration has encouraged Shell's plans to drill off the coastline of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — the polar bear's most important onshore denning ground in Alaska. According to the government’s own estimates, there's a very real danger of at least one major oil spill if Shell moves forward with full-scale production. Even worse, the oil industry has no proven method for cleaning up oil in the Arctic's ice-filled waters. So the death toll of oil-soaked and poisoned polar bears, whales and seals would be unimaginable.
-Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., NRDC Senior Attorney
Protecting the Polar Bear Seas is critical to the survival of America's threatened polar bears, which are already suffering terribly from climate change. These sensitive waters are also home to many whale species and other marine wildlife.
An oil spill at one of Shell’s rigs would be devastating. It could blanket the coast of the Arctic Refuge with an irremovable layer of toxic oil for generations. And oil-covered polar bears have virtually no chance of survival.
NRDC is fighting to put the Polar Bear Seas off limits to Big Oil forever.
Here are a few recent developments: