Feds Surrender, Approve Oil Drilling In Arctic Waters


Despite multiple assertions from President Obama and Secretary Ken Salazar to the contrary, the Department of Interior recently announced that the Shell oil company would be permitted to drill in Alaska’s Beaufort sea.

“Shell executives say that the climate for negotiations has since improved and that the E.P.A. is moving the process along at a faster pace,” reports the New York Times. “They also complimented the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement for moving quickly in submitting data to a federal court in Alaska in a lawsuit challenging Shell’s 2008 lease sale in the Chukchi Sea, west of the Beaufort in the Arctic.”

In 2010, Arctic exploration and drilling permits were suspended following the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Environmentalists and ocean scientists have asserted that an underwater oil spill in the freezing cold waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas would be almost impossible to clean up and would spell disaster for endangered species living there.

In early 2011, Shell announced that it would forgo its arctic drilling plans for the year after a federal court revoked clean-air permits that allowed drilling ships and support vessels to operate in the sensitive region.

“Proceeding with oil and gas drilling at this time is simple and plain lunacy. America’s Arctic is our last frontier, and this magnificent ecosystem supports a vast array of marine mammals: whales, polar bears, walrus, ice seals” said Chuck Clusen, an employee at the National Resources Defense Council (Bloomberg).

“The planned drilling activity is right in the migration path of endangered bowhead whales which live in these icy waters,” reports Care2′s Jake Richardson. “It could prevent them from reaching a feeding and resting area they have been using for some time. Additionally the noise of drilling and ice breaking could disrupt their normal feeding and resting, which might harm mothers and young calves.”

By allowing offshore drilling to commence without a clear idea of the environmental impact or a firm plan for cleaning up a spill in an extremely remote location, the Obama administration once again demonstrates that it is more concerned with getting industry on its side rather than actually protecting America’s delicate Alaskan ecosystems.

Luckily, it is too late for Shell to begin drilling this season, giving environmental organizations time to file an appeal.

Take Action! Tell Obama to grant permanent protection to the arctic national wildlife refuge by signing the petition below.

Related Reading:

We Need An International Arctic Treat…Fast

Can We Risk More Oil Development In The Arctic?

House Republicans Push For More Offshore Drilling

Image Credit: sandiegonewsroom.com

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Suzie Hughes
Suzie Hughes2 years ago

And yet again Obama caves to the megacorpies... What next? He has sold us out over and over in favor of the oil companies and he just signed the bill that protects Monsanto and their poisonous crops. I voted for him because the alternative was unacceptable to me. I regret it, but wonder if it would have been any better under a Republican leadership.. I think not. We are just doomed on environmental issues as long as either party is in power as the oil companies and Monsanto and Big Pharm compaines own the government.

Russell R.
Russell R.3 years ago

Obama - did not stop the XL pipeline, only delayed it until after the election. He is a puppet for Big Oil. That is where all the Money is!

David Nuttle
Past Member 3 years ago

As evidenced by the Feds approval of arctic drilling, wealthy special interests have learned how to use "political payola" (large, sustained campaign contributions) to effectively control our Congress, government, & White House. The only solution is a Constitutional Convention to reform Congress, and end special interest control. Maybe then honest persons, skilled in leadership, will run for political office ...and they can be elected in a fair election free of special interest manipulation. As it is now, we do not have qualified leadership from any party and the most powerful special interests actually control this nation by influencing and corrupting those we elect to represent us.

Sunshine S.
Marta S.3 years ago

Solar and wind power is the answer!

nicola w.
Jane H.3 years ago

Companies like this OWN governments ...our insatiable appetite for fuel and energy will destroy anything wild and beautiful on this planet -
Zero population growth is the only answer.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M.3 years ago

This is a very sad situation, it sheds light on the fact that the Oil Co's have more power than all the people and the Government put together.
It is clearly an environmental disaster in the making!

Eddie C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Its like watching a horror movie where you know the monster is waiting just outside the door. No matter how much you scream at the actor, the idiot still has to open the door.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.3 years ago

scary news

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.3 years ago

scary news

James Taylor
James Taylor4 years ago

Totally agree with Mychael L. You only have to look at what happened to Abe Lincoln and JFK when they finally decided to go against the grain. It's useless to put your faith in Obama or any other President because they are simply following orders for somebody else. They don't dare step out of line. As for the Oil Companies, everyone who fills up at a station is supporting Shell, BP and the rest, like it or not. There is no environmentally friendly way to extract oil.