The Arctic Ocean is one of the most pristine and fragile places left on the planet—and it’s in trouble.
In January, the Trump administration called for the removal of crucial Arctic protections in a new draft proposal of where oil and gas companies can purchase leases for offshore drilling.
A previous plan omitted the Arctic to protect marine mammals, seabirds, and other wildlife that live there, along with migratory paths and sensitive habitats. Native communities in Alaska continue to depend on the health of these subsistence resources for survival.
The vast size, remote location, and extreme weather conditions—combined with the complete lack of infrastructure for responding to oil spills—make drilling in the Arctic Ocean extremely dangerous. Our ability to respond to emergencies and oil spills is severely limited. Broken ice and other severe weather conditions in the Arctic make any large oil spill or well blowout catastrophic for the amazing life in the area. Opening the Arctic up for drilling would needlessly place the entire region at risk.
The Arctic could hold some of the world's largest remaining untapped oil and gas reserves. Sustainability must be prioritized over exploitation in the Arctic because the implications are global.
WWF's US office in Anchorage works on Arctic issues across Alaska, and on conservation challenges that cross borders.