Recently, President Obama along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began a partnership in order to face many challenges within the Arctic and gather research information with the help of Indigenous and Northern people all for the benefit of bettering their communities and preserving the environment. Now, after lots of scientific based research and community consultation the pair of leaders has banned off-shore oil drilling and gas across 115 million acres of Arctic ocean and 3.8 million acres of the Atlantic ocean.
The intent for this large ban is to prevent any major damage to an already diminishing ecosystem which many of the Indigenous and Northern people rely on for economy and sustenance. After lots of research between the U.S. and Canada it was determined that should an oil spill or chemical disaster in the Arctic waters happen, it would be extremely difficult to contain and clean due to the extremely harsh environment and slow response time of emergency personnel to such a location. This made the risk well out way the reward and our leaders have made a clear decision that they have no intent of letting it happen.
“These actions, and Canada’s parallel actions, protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on Earth. 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.”
However, the President and Prime Minister are not trying to quash all industry in the Arctic waters. Together, they have begun research to determine viable options for shipping routes through these waters and in the process involve the Northern and Indigenous people in the traits and trades of such industry. With that in mind, both Canada and the U.S. have made it very clear that the routes shall be strict and minimum new outposts should be built along the route. They are also upholding agreements to prevent the opening of unregulated fisheries while further developing a sustainable commercial fishing environment through the existing industry.
Between these two large countries and strong leaders, the Arctic environment should remain safe and without major threat for a very long time thanks to the efforts and research of our scientific teams.