Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House announced that President Barack Obama has permanently removed 98 percent of federal waters in the Arctic Ocean and 3.8 million acres of the Atlantic Ocean from consideration for potential future oil and gas leasing or seismic testing. The Obama administration also announced collaboration with the Canadian government, which has been acting to halt Arctic Ocean drilling in its waters and on joint action to curtail use of heavy fuel oils in Arctic waters. Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in response:
Today’s action by the president recognizes that America’s oceans are more valuable to fishermen, beachgoers, and coastal communities than they are to Big Oil. It shows that he has forgotten neither the catastrophic lessons of the 2010 BP oil disaster, nor the near-unanimous opposition to Atlantic Ocean drilling mounted by coastal communities from New Jersey to Florida, nor the villages he visited on Alaska’s North Slope that are in peril of being washed away by rising seas. This bold, historic action is the right move today and will pay dividends for future generations, ensuring that healthy oceans continue to support perpetual, sustainable industries instead of sacrificing them for finite access to dirty and dangerous mineral resources.
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