Washington — Today the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it will withdraw a December 2020 proposal from the Trump administration that would have weakened safety regulations for oil drilling in Arctic waters.
Statement by Leah Donahey, Legislative Director, Alaska Wilderness League said in a statement:
“Given the massive challenges of conducting offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean and the extremely limited response capabilities available, rolling back Arctic-specific requirements was an incredibly reckless move by the prior administration that endangered wildlife and coastal communities. Today’s announcement that the Biden administration will abandon that rollback is a huge win for the Arctic and its people and wildlife.
“Deepwater Horizon exposed massive shortcomings in our ability to quickly and effectively respond to a massive oil spill. The Arctic-specific requirements incorporated lessons learned from that tragedy and applied them to the uniqueness of the Arctic Ocean environment specifically because there are no effective means to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic’s harsh and remote conditions.
“The Arctic Ocean supports some of the world’s most iconic wildlife species and is home to the entire population of U.S. polar bears. Its living resources are relied upon by local Indigenous people who have lived on its shores for thousands of years. We fully support both administrative and congressional action to protect these waters from dangerous oil drilling.”