ConocoPhillips is trying to add seismic blasting to the Willow Project

Seismic blasting in the Arctic threatens polar bears, caribou herds and other wildlife.

Hans-Jurgen Mager |
white polar bear on snow covered ground during daytime

ConocoPhillips, an oil and gas giant, is seeking approval to conduct seismic blasting in search of oil and gas in the Arctic.

ConocoPhillips’ seismic application, which was submitted to the Biden administration, requests testing across more than 270,000 acres of the Arctic. It would involve months of dragging heavy thumper trucks and other machinery across a fragile ecosystem.

If approved, seismic blasting would threaten polar bears, caribou herds, and other wildlife that call the Arctic home. That’s why we’re calling on the Department of the Interior to reject any and all seismic activity on Arctic lands.

The Willow Project is already a bad idea for our environment. Proposed seismic blasting will make it even worse.

Seismic blasting helps fossil fuel companies look for more oil and gas — but it can injure or even kill polar bears. It creates loud noises that can scare polar bear mothers away from their dens and cubs. Thumper trucks can run over undetected dens.

Caribou herds would also be put at risk. The herd migrates through the area where ConocoPhillips has proposed seismic activity, and surveys could separate caribou from their historic breeding grounds.

Beyond the impact to local wildlife, seismic activity has consequences for the larger environment. It can undermine water resources, carve through cultural areas, and damage the underlying tundra. Each of these individual impacts prove that seismic activity is a dangerous proposal.