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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Take Action for the Center for Biological Diversity
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Here is what the center requests -


Last week’s explosion at a British Petroleum (BP) exploratory drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, 120 miles south of New Orleans, killed 11 workers and initiated what could become the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history.

As the rig sank to the ocean floor and the oil slick began to spread, the Coast Guard discovered that oil was actually gushing from the ocean floor, one mile beneath the surface. Officials currently estimate that up to 5,000 barrels -- 210,000 gallons -- of oil are leaking per day.

The technology used at the BP operation has been touted as the most advanced in the world, yet a safety valve that was supposed to shut off the flow of oil at the seabed in case of such an accident utterly failed to work. There is, in fact, no immediate way to stop the leaks or to clean up the oil slick -- which is larger than the state of Rhode Island and already washing up on the coastal wetlands of the Mississippi Delta region. (See up-to-the-minute photos here.)

Hundreds of imperiled species in the Gulf will be harmed by the toxic oil from loggerhead, green, hawksbill, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles to the Alabama beach mouse, Gulf sturgeon, Atlantic bluefin tuna, wood stork, and piping plover. The full extent of the damage won’t be known for some time, as the oil continues to gush and the response from industry and federal and state agencies appears largely ineffective to contain the spill.

As difficult as it is to deal with an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it is indescribably more difficult in the Arctic, where Ken Salazar, President Obama’s interior secretary, has authorized Shell Oil to conduct exploration drilling this summer in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska, with the same technology as was used at the BP disaster site.

The Gulf of Mexico disaster has shown with tragic clarity the absurdity of Interior Secretary Salazar’s claims that offshore oil and gas development is safe. The Obama administration is still taking comments before giving the final go-ahead to Shell to drill through the heart of polar bear critical habitat in the Chukchi Sea this summer. Please personalize and send the letter below to tell the administration that offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic and elsewhere off our coasts should be taken off the table permanently.

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