Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 9, 2015

Contact: Kristen Monsell, (914) 806-3467,

Public Meeting on Risky Arctic Drilling Designed to Stifle Public Input

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today is wrapping up a series of public meetings on Liberty, the latest Arctic offshore drilling project proposed in the Beaufort Sea. Center for Biological Diversity attorney Kristen Monsell is attending to raise concerns that the project threatens polar bears and ocean health — and to object to a meeting format that doesn’t allow a public vetting of these concerns.

“There’s no way to make the Liberty project safe. The project endangers Alaska’s amazing wildlife and worsens the climate crisis,” Monsell said. “The Arctic needs to be protected from dirty development and not exploited by oil companies. That’s why people rose up against Shell’s Arctic project this summer, and it’s why they oppose the Liberty project today.”

BP initiated the Liberty project more than 10 years ago, proposing to drill horizontal wells from the Alaskan coast to tap oil under the Beaufort Sea. That lease was transferred to Hilcorp, which wants to construct a nine-acre artificial island, more than five miles of underwater oil pipelines, and a huge gravel mine onshore. Today’s meeting at the Embassy Suites in Anchorage is the last of five scoping meetings in Alaska for the project’s environmental impact statement, all of which relegated public involvement to table stations with no opportunity for town hall-style public testimony.

“These meetings are intended to solicit public comments, but the format doesn’t allow people to have meaningful input. We expect regulators to listen to our concerns,” Monsell said. “Why hold public meetings if you don’t want public input?”

More information on the project can be found on BOEM’s website.

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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