Take Action Tuesday: How You Can Help Protect America’s Arctic Landscape

Photo: Lauren Hierl

There are few places in this country more pristine, vast and wild than Arctic Alaska. From the snowcapped peaks of the Brooks Range, to the vast tundra of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's Coastal Plain – crucial habitat for polar bears, caribou, millions of birds and more – America's Arctic is one of the few places that remain largely untouched by humankind. That all could change in a matter of months. Royal Dutch Shell is itching to launch the most aggressive course of drilling in history in the Arctic's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – as soon as July 1.

Despite falling victim to a lawsuit from Shell, organizations like Alaska Wilderness League are stepping up efforts to stop the oil giant, which recently admitted to 207 oil spills in 2011, including the worst spill in a decade in the North Sea.

Right now, Shell's drill ships are on their way to America's Arctic Ocean – unless President Obama acts to stop them. Shell is pushing to drill in our Arctic waters despite the fact that there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic's extreme conditions. In addition, there is limited information about the Arctic's marine environment.

The risks are huge – at this point, drilling in the Arctic Ocean is tantamount to ‘Mission Impossible.' The Arctic Ocean is prone to hurricane-force storms, 20-foot swells, sea ice up to 25 feet thick, sub-zero temperatures and months-long darkness.  What's more, the Arctic has extremely limited infrastructure (there are no roads or deep water ports and only a handful of small airports) and the nearest Coast Guard station is 1,000 miles away.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a profound and welcome promise: "I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago." He must keep this promise in America's Arctic Ocean.

Join our efforts to protect the Arctic Ocean today by visiting the Conservation Alliance Facebook page and send a message to President Obama. There is no time to waste. If President Obama fails to stop Shell from moving forward with its dangerous plans for our Arctic waters, he could be left with the next major oil spill disaster on his hands – and the destruction of one of our planet's most vital ecosystems.

 To learn more about Alaska Wilderness League click here.