For Immediate Release:
November 8, 2011
Contact: Maggie Kao, 202-675-2384
Dept. of Interior Announces New Plans for Risky
WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior
Ken Salazar today announced the Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and
Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017, opening up the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Alaska to dangerous and dirty offshore oil
and gas drilling. It schedules 15
potential lease sales for the five year period – 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and
three off the coast of Alaska.
In response, Athan Manuel, Sierra Club Director
of Lands Protection, issued the following statement:
“The Sierra Club is deeply troubled by Secretary
Salazar’s announcement today, which could open up the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in Alaska to dangerous and dirty offshore drilling
and jeopardize one of our nation’s last wild frontiers.
“Big Oil continues to brush off
the dangers and high costs of offshore drilling – costs that the people of the
Gulf Coast are all too familiar with and are still struggling with more than a
year after the BP oil disaster.
“The risk to the fragile Arctic area and Alaska communities is clear. Spill
prevention, containment and response systems are not equipped to work in
challenging Arctic conditions – in short, when
there is a spill in the Arctic, we will not
be able to clean it up.
“We are confident that if the Interior
Department does in fact ‘proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best
science available,’ they will conclude that offshore drilling in the Arctic cannot
be done safely.
– whether in the Gulf or the Arctic – only destroys our land, air and water and
serves to keep Americans shackled to the gas pump and beholden to Big Oil.
“Instead, we need to invest in American
innovation and 21st Century transportation solutions like smarter, more
fuel-efficient cars and trucks, electric vehicles and mass transit to truly
achieve energy security and a clean energy economy beyond oil.”