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Great news! President Obama has officially moved to protect vast swaths of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from offshore oil and gas drilling. According to White House Officials, Obama is invoking the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which governs the Outer Continental Shelf to block drilling in federal waters in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea and most of its Beaufort Sea. This measure has also protected 21 underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean from drilling.

This action is part of the U.S. Atlantic and Arctic Ocean offshore leasing plan that runs from 2017 through 2022. Given the length of the lease, these waters are set to be protected all the way through the term of President-elect Trump. Although Trump could take measures to repeal this, the process would be lengthy – not to mention, the White House has explained that no previous president has tried to undo a drilling withdrawal under the 1953 law and there is no provision to do so. Canada has also agreed to cease drilling and the moratorium will be reviewed every five years.

“These actions, and Canada’s parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on earth,” Obama said in a statement.”They reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”

The delicate and relatively untouched ecosystem of the Arctic needs all the protection it can get, especially in the face of rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, and the ever looming threat of plastic pollution.  We often forget the fact that we need the oceans for our own survival. These massive swaths of water provide us with a majority of our oxygen, absorb around one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and help to moderate our climate. Without a healthy, stable ocean, humanity cannot survive. 

Taking action to protect some of the world’s last pristine marine areas is a crucial step in securing our environmental future. President Obama echoed this sentiment perfectly, stating, “It would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region — at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels.”

Our planet as we know it hangs in the balance due to the impact of global climate change, swift steps such as this give us hope that there is still time to protect the untouched natural areas we have left and begin to foster a renewed sense of respect and stewardship.

We all have the power to make a difference using nothing more than our everyday choices. To learn more about how you can start making a positive through your diet, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign. You can also make an enormous impact by cutting back on disposable plastics, to learn more,  join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic movement.

Image source: outdoorsman/Shutterstock

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8 comments on “Polar Bears in Alaska Now Have Hope Thanks to President Obama”

Click to add comment
Tyler Durden
9 Months Ago

They are bears, they are ANIMALS . . . animals do not "hope", people "hope"! They are animals!


Reply
Karon Carpenter
9 Months Ago

Finally some HOPE!


Reply
Thalia Lehmann
9 Months Ago

Hopefully....


Reply
Udo Messerschmitt
9 Months Ago

The Arctic will be ice free for part of the year within a decade or so. Polar bears will have to find new ways of feeding or become extinct and only exist as hybrids with grizzly bears. Given the long time that it takes to reverse climate change there is nothing that can be done at this time that will change that eventuality. Polar bears are most like doomed. Saving humanity from the potential catastrophic effects of climate change is the main priority. http://psc.apl.uw.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/


Reply
Udo Messerschmitt
21 Dec 2016

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141107-will-polar-bears-become-extinct

CDryden
21 Dec 2016

You cannot reverse climate change. You apparently believe that it is all man made and all we have to do is quit eating beef, driving cars and shut down anything that pollutes the air and it will automatically go back to where it was. There is no doubt that human behavior affects our earth and very possibly exacerbates

CDryden
21 Dec 2016

climate change if we are experiencing one, but it will last a very long time

Iba Coles
9 Months Ago

We know that President Obama has the right attitude. Unfortunately the clown that comes after him does not know anything about any animals....


Reply
Renee Van Den Spiegel
9 Months Ago

I hope iT Will stand FOR as long as we needed iT . Don't trust Trump. He is a BASTERD


Reply
emma perry
21 Dec 2016

it\'s not nice to call people names bad karma...slander only hurts you and tells of YOUR character not his- peace

Funda Ada
9 Months Ago

Really


Reply
Tatiana Carvalho
9 Months Ago

Filipa Bastos


Reply
Filipa Bastos
21 Dec 2016

<3

Marie Rickard
9 Months Ago

AND Canada!! The agreement was between TWO counties, not just the US.


Reply
Ernie Parkes
9 Months Ago

Fortunately this is a joint international agreement between the US and Canada that covers the Arctic region above both countries that we currently share... so it cannot be unilaterally changed by Trump and his cronies without consultation with Canada. Another genius move by the outgoing administration.


Reply


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