Help Stop Big Oil’s Arctic Assault

Speak up today for the future of ringed seals and other cherished Arctic wildlife.

Remember the days when Big Tobacco insisted their product was safe? For a long time, people bought in: doctors lit up, mothers smoked around their kids … just watch an episode of “Mad Men” for a visual. We eventually wised up, but Phillip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and co. spent decades denying that cigarettes cause cancer, in the face of overwhelming evidence. To put it bluntly, they lied for a living.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss—Big Oil.

Responders could only restore a small part of the ecosystem after the Exxon Valdez spill, 800 miles south of Shell's proposed sites. Cleanup would be next to impossible that far north. (photo: ARLIS Reference)

Since the BP oil spill, the press and groups like NWF have turned the spotlight on these companies and discovered the not-so-shocking truth: Big Oil has a casual relationship with honesty. We put out a report last year that detailed how major accidents have become the norm for the petroleum industry, whose CEO’s have taken a page from the tobacco textbook and apparently think that if they lie often enough—and boldly enough—that people will believe them. The lie? “Trust us. We know what we’re doing.”

Case in point: Shell Oil Company was recently approved to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska’s northern coast. Shell has been drooling over this area for years but has been delayed by its own corner-cutting and challenges from environmental groups. We’ve already detailed some of the problems with Arctic drilling including nightmarish weather and the potential impacts on wildlife, and last month’s major spill in the North Sea put another black mark on Shell’s record. But now, barring an unexpected reversal from the White House, the company is ready to start even though they clearly pulled their “facts” out of thin air.

Well here’s the REAL fact: Shell can’t clean up a spill in the Arctic, any more than Big Tobacco could make a “safe” cigarette. They know this. We know this. Somebody should probably tell the regulators before everything goes up in smoke.

Here’s your chance. We have until September 26 to tell the government what we think of Shell’s bogus claims, and you can submit your own comment online in less time than it takes to brush your teeth.

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (photo: Susanne Miller/USFWS)

TAKE ACTION and add your voice to the thousands of other Americans who are speaking up to protect Arctic wildlife and ensure the health of our oceans.


Click here to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s work in the Arctic.