In light of Shell's drill rig the Kulluk grounding on New Year's Eve 2012, Audubon joined conservation groups in asking Secretary Salazar to suspend oil and gas activities in the Arctic Ocean. Shell is simply not prepared to drill safely and responsibly in Arctic Ocean conditions.
This map by Audubon Alaska shows where the Kulluk ran aground and the bay that it was towed to afterward, all withing a globally significant Important Bird Area.
The Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean is one of the most productive places on earth for wildlife, but there is much we have yet to learn about this ecosystem. Although the weather is harsh in the winter, with gale-force winds, 20-foot seas, and shifting sea ice, these waters provide unspoiled habitat for millions of migratory birds and thousands of marine mammals, including polar bears, ice seals, endangered bowhead whales, and Pacific walrus.
We are still learning about the intricate interactions between wildlife and the ocean in these remote waters. WIth so much still unknown, it is difficult to even assess the risks involved in drilling offshore for oil and gas.
Read Audubon Alaska's comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about the 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017. Audubon Alaska urges the agency to modify the plan "to better reflect this Administration’s public commitment to a new approach to decisions about conservation and energy production in the Arctic—an approach based on precaution, preparedness, and good science."
- Issues & Action
- Important Bird Areas