Straight from Mother Jones -
Polar bears, walruses, seals, whales and ocean-going birds like eider ducks and loons call the Arctic Ocean home. Their survival in an environment seemingly so inhospitable is a wonder of nature. But as climate change continues unabated, these creatures – already facing a harsh environment – become some of the most vulnerable on earth.
Incredibly, their plight may get worse, as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) considers offering 73 million acres of Arctic waters to oil and gas leasing. That's an area the size of Arizona.
The receding ice cap has made it harder for the animals – marine and land-based – to get around and find food, including the polar bears that hunt and mate here each year, and the Pacific walruses that live here year round. In fact, 90 percent of the entire Pacific walrus population can be found in these waters.
But not just wildlife is at stake. Wholesale leasing in this area would endanger the centuries-old way of life of Native communities, whose very culture centers on wildlife and ecosystem integrity.
There is simply no safe way to drill in these waters. Studies have shown that even seismic testing of potential drilling sites is known to have an impact on marine animals' habits and lifecycles. And research conducted by the MMS indicates that with extensive drilling, small crude oil and other petroleum spills are inevitable. MMS predicts a 40% chance of a large spill. Making matters worse, the technology to clean up a spill in icy Arctic waters doesn't even exist.
We need science to guide decisions with such long-lasting effects, not pressure from the oil and gas industry. Until there is scientific evidence that drilling won't harm wildlife, all new oil leases should be taken off the table.