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Coalition Letter to BP Amoco


Sir John Browne
BP Amoco, p.l.c.
Britannic House 1, Finsbury House
London EC2M 7BA
United Kingdom
January 21, 2000

Sir Browne:

We are writing on behalf of Earth Day 2000, the Dirty Jobs Boycott and our joint Green Pledge Campaign to ask you to end BP Amoco’s efforts to explore and drill for oil along the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

BP Amoco prides itself on its environmentally friendly reputation and concern for the environment. We applaud the company for dropping its membership from the Global Climate Coalition, the Washington, D.C.-based industry groups that has given more than $60 million to politicians in lobbying against the Kyoto Protocol and other sensible global climate change policies. However, as you said yourself, "policies are easy to state, but their ultimate expression lies in the way we behave." Any effort to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is simply unacceptable behavior, especially from a company that has made worked for progress in other areas of environmental concern.

Evidence of the value of the pristine habitat of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the dangers associated with oil drilling continue to mount, considering the following:

  • The Refuge is the only part of America’s Arctic not open for oil and gas exploration. It is the home of the Gwich’in people, an ethnic group that has lived around the refuge for 20,000 years. The coastal plain is also an essential birthing ground to the 129,000 member Porcupine caribou herd that travels 800 miles to give birth to thousands of calves in a safe environment. The caribou that roam the plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are crucial to the survival of the Gwich’in as the caribou provide food, shelter and a link to their traditional way of life. The U.S. Department of the Interior warns that drilling in the Refuge could harm 40% of the herd.

  • Other threatened wildlife also rely on the critical habitat the refuge provides for large populations of musk ox, migratory birds, black bears, brown bears, wolves and aquatic creatures. More polar bears chose this area to raise their young dens than anywhere else in the United States. Human disturbance would be disastrous for these animals.

  • Oil drilling in Arctic is burdened by a history of spills, waste production and irreparable damage to the environment. In 1997, there were approximately 500 spills, an average of one every 18 hours, involving more than 80,000 gallons of oil, acid, diesel fuel and other materials. Each year, more than 43,000 tons of smog-producing nitrogen oxides and 100,000 metric tons of methane are emitted and contribute to global warming. There is only one Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and we cannot afford even one accident that would forever scar this precious ecosystem.

  • On Sept. 23, 1999, BP Amoco plead guilty to a federal felony conviction connected to illegal dumping of hazardous waste at their Endicott Oil Field near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. As part of a plea agreement BP Amoco agreed to pay a $22 million in criminal and civil penalties. BP Amoco had touted Endicott as an "environmentally friendly" oil field;

  • In addition to Endicott, BP Amoco is responsible for 104 oil spills in America’s Arctic between January 1997 and March 1998. That one spill every four days.

Furthermore, drilling for oil in the refuge is not just dangerous; it’s not even necessary. By increasing the average fuel efficiency of cars and trucks, we would save more oil in the long term than estimated in the refuge. President Clinton’s recent actions demonstrate that we need to act now to limit environmental destruction that would harm the future of the Earth.

Our request is a simple and sensible. We ask BP Amoco to stop efforts to explore and drill for oil along the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is home to an array of unique biological treasures whose value is incomparable to the four to six months worth of oil the United States Geological Survey is expected to contain.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, consumers’ concern for the environment is piqued. We are now prepared to take that concern into the buying, investing and working arenas through our Green Pledge Campaign. We are already organizing consumers, investors, and college students to withhold their working power from B.P. should B.P. fail to take action before Earth Day, April 22, 2000. Should you continue to attempt to drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge, we will ask consumers, investors and college students to take their business elsewhere. There is no reason why consumers should entrust their future to corporations that do not consider the long-term environmental impacts of their actions. We urge you to take this action before Earth Day on April 22, 2000.

It is time for BP Amoco to live up to its self-proclaimed title of environmental leader and appreciate and protect one of the last remaining unique parcels of wilderness. Take the responsible step of leaving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge alone - before it’s too late.


Andrew MacDonald

Wendy Wendlandt
Earth Day 2000

email us at earthday2000@juno.com


march 2000

©1999 Earth Day 2000