Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 18, 2015

Contact:  Miyoko Sakashita,, (510) 844-7108

Obama Administration Weighs Risky Arctic Drilling Project in Polar Bear Habitat

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The Obama administration announced today that it will consider an oil drilling plan in Alaska — pushed for years by BP — to build a manmade island in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea in the heart of polar bear habitat. The Liberty project would tap oil and gas five miles off the coast in federal waters.   

“With all we know about the terrible plight of polar bears and the dangers of drilling in the Arctic, it would be really disheartening to see the Obama administration give this serious consideration,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Any oil spill in that area would be nearly impossible to clean up — this sort of dirty development has no business in such an important place.”

The Liberty project was initially proposed by BP about 10 years ago, with plans to drill long, horizontal wells to tap oil along the Alaskan coast. Now Hilcorp, another company, has taken over the project and submitted a development plan to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The plan is to build a 9 acre island and 5.6 mile offshore pipeline in waters off the coast of Alaska to drill for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea.

“Obama should not approve this project. It puts Alaska’s magnificent wildlife at risk, and it will only deepen the climate crisis that is already melting the far North,” said Sakashita.

The Bureau is accepting comments on the proposal for 60 days.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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