British MPs have called for unlimited liability for firms that cause oil spills in the Arctic, and establishment of an Arctic environmental sanctuary, the BBC reported on Thursday.
The committee’s statement comes after the Environmental Audit Committee concluded spills could cause unprecedented environmental damage.
“The MPs want to see a standard pan-Arctic spill response standard, unlimited liability for firms and an Arctic environmental sanctuary,” the committee said in a statement.
But the UK has no power over the Arctic and the British government has only observer status on the Arctic Council – a group of Arctic states that discusses Arctic issues. The grouping is under pressure to cash in on oil and gas.
“The committee wants the UK to try to use its influence to improve environmental safeguards but in evidence the MPs heard, that governance of the region was fragmented and weak,” the Environmental Audit Committee said.
Sweden, which currently holds the chair in the Arctic Council, declined to comment on the British MP’s moratorium proposal.
The proposal comes a day after new findings showed that drilling will get easier as the Arctic is already warming much faster than anywhere else on the planet.
Arctic drilling has been ongoing since the 1920s but it has become much more controversial after BP's Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused a large-scale environmental disaster when more than 5 million barrels of crude oil were leaked in the water, polluting over 1,100 miles of coastline.