US votes to drill for oil in Arctic wildlife haven

  • 03/12/2017

There hasn't been commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean, because you couldn't get past the polar ice. 

But now it melts in the summer, countries with major fishing fleets could be tempted to enter the icy waters. 

So the world's biggest fishing nations - including  Russia, China, Canada and the US, as well as the EU - have signed up to leave the waters around the North Pole alone for 16 years to give scientists time to carry out research on the marine life there. Conservationists says it's a historic deal. 

It should mean any future fishing will only happen when science says it's safe and there are quotas to prevent over fishing of species like arctic cod. 

At the same time as the US has joined the pact on the Arctic Ocean, American senators have voted to sacrifice parts of another fragile wilderness, to allow drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the northeastern edge of Alaska, on the Arctic Ocean and near the Canadian border. It's the largest untouched wilderness in the United States. 

It's a place the Obama administration had plans to protect. 

Until now, the Democrats had managed to block drilling in the coastal plain. But it now looks likely the plan to search for oil will make it to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature. 

Watch the video for the full Channel 4 report.