Dear Nature’s Crusaders
Great news: Royal Dutch Shell has announced it is postponing its plan to drill off the coast of the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer (2011).
This is a huge victory for Alaska’s embattled polar bears and other Arctic wildlife that are vulnerable to devastating losses if a blowout were to occur in the frigid Beaufort Sea.
It is a victory that you made possible through your donations, your online activism and your absolute commitment to stopping Shell in its tracks.
As you know, NRDC has waged a long, hard-fought legal battle to slow or stop Shell’s race to drill — especially in the wake of last summer’s oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
On one legal front, we joined with Earthjustice in challenging clean air permits that the Obama Administration issued to Shell last year. Those permits would have allowed Shell’s fleet of ships to emit tons of pollutants into the Arctic environment, harming both Native communities and wildlife.
Last month, a federal appeals board ordered the Administration to withdraw the clean air permits and start the process all over again.
Now, just weeks later, Shell has thrown in the towel on drilling this summer!
You and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the oil giant will not be launching its drill ship and icebreakers come June … that there will be no oil spill in the sensitive, wildlife-filled waters of the Beaufort … and that mother polar bears will come ashore in the Arctic Refuge this fall to give birth just as they’ve done for thousands of years — undisturbed by drilling rigs, toxic pollution and a flood of deadly oil.
We would hope that the Obama Administration will take this opportunity to rethink its rush to allow drilling in fragile Arctic environments.
But if it does not, you can be sure that Shell will be back next year, leveraging its vast resources in yet another attempt to drill off the coast of the Arctic Refuge.
And NRDC will be ready. Unlike Shell, we can’t afford to lose even once. That’s what makes your long-term support so absolutely critical — and so decisive.
Thanks to your support, we have helped derail Shell’s plans three different times since 2008. I expect no less next year.
On behalf of everyone here at NRDC and Mother Nature, I want to thank you again for helping to make this great victory possible.
Peter Lehner, Executive Director NRDC
Mary Wolken and Rahm Rodriguez Directors Nature’s Crusaders
P.S. Even as we celebrate this wonderful win, we are still taking the fight to Big Oil. NRDC is waging a long-term legal battle to stop Shell and other oil giants from drilling elsewhere in the Polar Bear Seas.
You can help us prevail by making a special, tax-deductible donation right now to NRDC.
Image courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders library