A Democratic member of the US House of Representatives has introduced a bill to put a complete stop on leasing of oil and gas exploration sites in US Arctic territory.
The bill is timely considering it was only Monday that market forces and resource evaluation forced Shell to up sticks on its exploratory campaign in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea off Alaska.
Shell’s was the most prominent project in recent times to get US federal approval for drilling in the notoriously hazardous but fragile Arctic habitat and its sudden termination after a $7bn investment in research and test drilling came as a surprise.
Now Congressman Jared Huffman of California’s Second Congressional District has brought in the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015, which would prohibit new or renewed oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf.
The bill has a Senate companion piece which was introduced by Jeff Merkley the junior Senator from Oregon, who is also a Democrat.
Huffman and Merkley’s primary motivation with the bills is to protect the important but vulnerable Arctic environment from potentially catastrophic mishaps during oil production.