IFAW responds to the U.S. Government’s decision to open Arctic and Atlantic areas for oil and gas development

Wednesday, 28 January, 2015
Washington, D.C.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today released its draft five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf.  The plan includes leasing parts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans where marine habitats, which have largely been off-limits to offshore drilling, will now be subjected to seismic deafening airgun use during the exploratory phase, as well as be at risk of disastrous oil spills, once development gets underway.

Margaret Cooney, IFAW Program Officer said:  “President Obama’s executive action  putting some of the Arctic’s most sensitive areas off limits, is a step in the right direction, but the best decision would be to not open these areas to development, period.”

Cooney added:  “Breeding and calving grounds for the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale are located solidly within the Atlantic leasing area. With so few individuals left, the loss of even one Right whale could have a severe impact on the overall population.”

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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