Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 16, 2015

Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, (510) 845-6703

Two Oil, Gas Lease Sales Cancelled in Alaska's Arctic

WASHINGTON— Just weeks after Shell halted its offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, the Obama administration today announced that it is cancelling two oil and gas lease sales in the Arctic that were scheduled for 2016 and 2017.

“This is a huge win for Arctic wildlife and our climate,” said Miyoko Sakashita with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Americans have spoken time and again about the perils of Arctic drilling. It’s gratifying to see these leases finally cancelled and now it’s time to declare the Arctic off-limits to drilling forever.”

Earlier this year the Obama administration announced five-year plans to open up the Atlantic Ocean to drilling and offer more lease sales in Arctic waters off Alaska. An oil spill in Alaska’s remote offshore areas would be impossible to clean up and would push wildlife in the region – many of which are already in trouble because of global warming – closer to extinction.

“Arctic drilling never made sense,” Sakashita said. “We’re happy to see Shell walk away and now to have these two lease sales cancelled. It can’t stop here though: It’s time to take the next step and pledge to keep this oil in the ground and transition quickly to energy sources that are safer, smarter and better for all of us.”

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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