Congressman Jared Huffman has introduced a Bill to Congress that aims to prohibit the United States from the renewal or new authorisation of oil and gas leases in the Arctic Ocean.
The Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015 acknowledges that global climate change is mostly a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and that, to protect the US from its impacts, fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.
The Californian congressman has a history with environmental policy and is the author of the Udall-Eisenhower Artic Wilderness Act which aims to protect 1.5 million acres of wilderness.
The Bill closely follows the announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that it is terminating its exploration in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska, after only finding negligible deposits. The company received a permit for drilling in August despite a 75% likelihood of accident (according to the Department of Interior) and the fragility of the surrounding ecosystem.
Ocean drilling remains beneath the dark cloud of the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which saw crude oil gush from a ruptured sea-bed valve for 87 days, and cost BP itself many billions of dollars.
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