The Beaufort Sea contains oil and there is a history of drilling in the region.
However, many people including the Inuvialuit —- the people of the ocean shore communities, who self-govern under their Inuvialuit Final Agreement — have long been wary of the potential for environmental catastrophe.
Now, with news of the BP oil spill in the United States, some people are asking the question: “What if it happened here?”
To put these fears in perspective, here is a graphic from the very useful visualizer, http://www.ifitwasmyhome.com
As you can see, the Gulf of Mexico-scale oil spill represents a bigger surface area than Ivaavik national park. In fact, it spans an area equivalent to almost the entire Beaufort/Mackenzie delta.