The Arctic waters off Alaska’s north coast boast a wide array of biodiversity including polar bears, whales, fish, and millions of migrating birds. Over the last few years, there has been an enormous push to open up Arctic waters to unprecedented oil and gas development, posing an enormous threat to the region’s biodiversity and the native communities who rely on those resources for their survival. Spill prevention and response capability in this remote corner of the world is virtually unknown. If a spill were to occur in the fall when the seas are freezing over, oil could be left to flow until the following summer when relief wells can be drilled.
Yet numerous leases have been slated for approval in the 2007-2012 federal plan for offshore oil and gas development. Hundreds of scientists have appealed to President Obama to stop drilling in the Arctic until experts can study the proposed oil development’s impacts on the region’s marine ecosystems and native communities... http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/caroline-cannon