In honor of the 26 anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska, dozens of Arctic lovers gathered in front of the White House to show their support for a clean and healthy Arctic Ocean. Individual ocean supporters, people from groups like Ocean Conservancy, Greenpeace USA, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, and Friends of the Earth US all stood together to tell the Obama Administration to protect the Arctic from risky oil drilling. I was fortunate enough to be able to join these Arctic advocates.
The Exxon Valdez disaster took place in Prince William Sound in south-central Alaska. Over the course of three days, nearly 11 million gallons of oil spewed into the ocean. Now, more than a quarter of a century later, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean is threatened by risky oil drilling. Shell Oil has proposed drilling exploration wells in the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska as soon as this summer. That’s why people chanted, held signs and demonstrated outside of the White House.
A recent Bureau of Ocean Energy Management report found that there’s a 75 percent chance of a spill if companies, like Shell, are allowed to develop oil in the Arctic. Cleaning an oil spill in Arctic waters would be nearly impossible due to lack of infrastructure, extreme weather and rapidly forming sea ice.
Were you not able to attend the rally? Not to worry – there’s still a lot you can do to fight for the Arctic! Join us in telling the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect marine mammals from risky Arctic drilling.