Alaska's Bristol Bay Threatened with Drilling

Feature story - December 6, 2006
President George Bush might be on the verge of lifting the moratorium on oil and gas development in Alaska's Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay protected

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush issued executive Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leasing withdrawals, putting specific sensitive ocean areas off limits to federal offshore oil and gas leasing. In 1998, President Clinton added the North Aleutian Basin, including Alaska's fishery-rich Bristol Bay, to President Bush's existing executive leasing withdrawals. He also extended the duration of this protection until June 30, 2012.  President Clinton's addition of Bristol Bay to the executive OCS leasing withdrawals came in part because of the tragic Exxon-Valdez oil spill.  The spill provided compelling evidence that damaging oil spills and other marine pollution could not be effectively cleaned up in the rough seas and adverse weather conditions prevalent in remote Alaskan waters for much of the year.

High Stakes

Bristol Bay hosts the world's largest wild salmon run and is home to countless whales, seals, walrus and fish, as well as Alaska Native communities dependent on these resources.  So much of Alaska is already open to oil and gas development, we can't risk damaging the delicate ecosystem of Bristol Bay  with the threats posed by oil and gas development.  Read more about the wildlife in this area.

Protecting Bristol Bay

Greenpeace and a coalition of environmental groups have sent a letter to the administration citing the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and calling attention to the economic importance of Bristol Bay as a critical salmon fishery and an essential habitat for the endangered northern right whale.  Read the Letter.

What you can do

Take action!  Tell President Bush not to lift the moratorium on oil and gas development in Alaska's Bristol Bay.