April 18, 2017 – For Immediate Release

Recent oil and methane gas leaks under ice-covered Alaskan waters underscore the fact that drilling has no place in the Arctic Ocean. From late December until April 13, 2017, hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of methane spewed every day from an underwater pipeline into Alaska’s Cook Inlet, threatening endangered wildlife including Steller sea lions and beluga and humpback whales.

There is no easy way to stop pipeline leaks in the remote and unforgiving Arctic. Shutting them down puts them at risk of taking in water, freezing and rupturing. Heavy ice cover and strong tides in Cook Inlet made it impossible to send divers to assess the damaged pipeline lying 80 feet deep on the seabed floor. Only last Thursday, after tens of millions of cubic feet of methane gas had been released into a vulnerable ecosystem, were divers able to install a clamp on the pipeline to stop the leak. No one knows the short-term or long-term damage to the environment and wildlife that this leak has triggered. But what is absolutely clear is that we need MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, immediately.

“Undertaking projects with the potential to do terrible damage to our planet, and without fail safes, is not only environmentally unsound. It neglects common sense: don’t make a mess if you cannot clean it up,” says Parvati Devi, the founder of the Canadian not-for-profit Parvati.org working to establish MAPS. “We need to be responsible citizens of the Earth and realize that our bottom line is a healthy planet. Oil and gas drilling have no place in the vulnerable Arctic, which is already severely taxed in its role of keeping the planet cool. MAPS ensures all life on Earth, including endangered Arctic wildlife, can continue to thrive.”  

As an immediate, simple and effective solution to protect the Arctic for the sake of the entire planet, Parvati.org created the international MAPS Treaty, translated it into the six official UN languages, and distributed it to the heads of government of all 193 member nations of the UN for their formal endorsement. The treaty takes effect with the signatures of 99 countries. MAPS designates the ocean north of the Arctic Circle as an international marine conservation area, precluding all commercialization, industrialization, and militarization in this delicate environment.

Citizens of all nations are urged to sign and share the MAPS petition at http://parvati.org, and to call on their governments to ratify MAPS immediately.