Chukchi Sea

Posted: 07/02/2008 in Uncategorized
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WASHINGTON, D.C., February 6, 2008 –/WORLD-WIRE/–

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) condemns Lease Sale 193 by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) in Alaska on February 6 that opens nearly 30 million acres of the pristine Chukchi Sea to oil and gas activities, putting at risk the future of people, polar bears and the magnificent Arctic. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has ignored repeated requests from the American public, Arctic communities and conservation groups to delay or withdraw the lease sale until we have a better understanding of its impact on Arctic wildlife and habitats. In addition, an expected listing of polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act has been delayed.

This listing would have recognized the grave threat to polar bears from loss of sea ice and habitats due to global warming. “Selling off our natural heritage to the highest bidder is a sad spectacle and represents a step backwards in our efforts to save the irreplaceable Arctic and the magnificent polar bears for future generations,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. “We already know the future of the polar bear in the arctic is tenuous due to global warming,” said Margaret Williams, WWF’s Director of the Bering Sea Program. “Allowing this lease sale to go forward without having proper protections in place for polar bears is extremely irresponsible.

The technology to effectively contain and clean up oil spills does not currently exist, so this oil lease is a disaster waiting to happen.” WWF has more than 20 years experience in polar bear conservation and a global presence in all the Arctic countries.

Photo courtesy World Wildlife Fund


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