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Preparing To Stop Shell's Latest Arctic Scheme


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24 September 2011, 8:13 PM
Earthjustice will defend fragile environment, Native communities
Caribou form large herds on the coastal plains north of the Brooks Range, one of the most splendid stretches of wilderness left in America. Arctic Refuge, Alaska. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)

The Palmyra Atoll is a tropical coral reef island in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. It’s warm, tiny and far from the vast, frigid Arctic. And yet these distant, disparate places are as alike in one sense as any two places on Earth.

Each is an early victim of humankind’s addiction to fossil fuels and our constantly affirmed determination to stay addicted.

Like other low-lying communities around the world, the Palmyra Atoll, only a few feet from sea level, is quietly disappearing under rising ocean waters. As the Arctic melts—at a near-record pace—the ocean is warming and expanding. These islands and their inhabitants are literally at the water’s edge of global climate disaster.

But, while the evidence of global warming is clear and the science overwhelming, the unwillingness of nations to address this shared problem is perplexing. Even the Obama administration has taken actions that keep us tethered to the oil dependency that contributes so much to climate change.

In the last week, the Environmental Protection Agency issued permits authorizing Shell to drill for oil and gas in America’s Arctic Ocean as early as this summer. The issuance of permits fails to account for the full impacts of Shell’s operations, including the long-range potential that greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions—both major contributors to global climate change—will accelerate Arctic warming. The permits also will allow large ships in both the Beaufort and Chukchi seas to dump tons of toxic pollution into the air and water, posing threats to wildlife, and harshly impacting Alaska Native communities.

The most worrisome threat, however, is the inability of Shell and of our government agencies to deal effectively with spills in the harsh and unforgiving Arctic seas, especially if spills occur during winter when thick sea ice and furious winds and towering seas would prevent an adequate spill clean-up response. The oil spill response plans they have concocted fail to provide assurance that a major spill could be contained, let alone cleaned up.

The administration seems to be overlooking the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In that temperate, easily accessed environment, it took months for a massive response team to finally quell the gushing oil. That level of response could not occur in harsh Arctic conditions, nor do we have any way of predicting whether an effective clean up is even possible.

This summer, I witnessed firsthand the quiet beauty of the Arctic landscape: the thousands of ponds, the miles of tundra, the flocks of waterfowl on every water body, and the Beaufort Sea on the horizon. I felt the power and urgency of what is at stake if our nation presses forward with risky and unproven plans to convert this remarkable place into an industrial wasteland.

During the trip, I also had the privilege of visiting with some of the Native Alaskans whose entire ways of life could be permanently disrupted by drilling activities planned and envisioned by Shell. These are people and communities that Earthjustice has worked with for years—fighting in partnership to preserve their unique way of life.

I left the Arctic more emboldened than ever to keep working to protect these communities.

I can assure you that Earthjustice is mounting a vigorous response to this latest attempt by Shell – with the blessings of our government—to recklessly place the human communities, wildlife and unmatchable beauty at risk. With our allies, we’ve beaten back previous attempts to bring drill ships into these waters, and we are determined to halt this latest effort.

Like Dallas is saying,"too many people are accusing Obama". It's not so much on how you vote, he keeps trying, when your up against the Republicians is a ongoing battle. They will not give an inch on proposals for the environment. Try listening to the President, listen between the lines, an not what you want to hear/or think you heard.

I am also in doubt as to whether I will vote for Obama. I'm using Americanselect.org - they have enough backing to get a third candidate on the ballots that is outside the two party system, and that average citizens pick. I'm putting my vote probably with them!

You are absolutely right, we should everything we can to protect our nature because there are not much places like this left!

I agree with the others. I will also be voting Obama out! He is not just a liar, but a deceiver. Notice how he has the same "Promises" as when he ran for his first term in the presidency... We have to preserve these lands if not for anything else than the ecosystem.

None of us here can disagree with the all out efforts to preserve our ecosystems. But unfortunately, Obama, with all his strengths and defects as a man, is being portrayed as a deceiver, as if he were unique in this regard among presidents. Hmm...why then after the revelation of Watergate burglary, people elected Nixon for a second term! Then, of course, Clinton, with his assignations, which he repeatedly denied, was voted back into office. You had better wait and see who will be running against him, before blindly declaring you will vote him out! The other candidate just might look like the devil when stands beside Obama.

Most of our elected officials are owned by big business (namely the energy companies), and Wall Street. It is time we wake up and elect representatives who care about the environment.

In times of economic hardship the environment and the poor suffer injustice at the hand of those whose single goal is economic or personal prosperity. It is hard to assign a dollar amount to the aesthetic value that these lands and its people represent. It's time we overhaul CFR and prevent these kinds of things from happening by altering the law itself. No more soft language; no more loop holes, just concise accurate laws that aim to protect the welfare of the people and the environment.

It is important to note that many who are making these decisions are not biologists and to not understand the ecosystems that exist in these areas, their slow turnover time, and the slow speed in which it recovers.

Hope this catastrophe can be stopped ON TIME!

to the person who said he/she would vote against Obama: The rethuglicans want to get rid of the EPA and all pollution regulations - what do you think that will do for global climate change?

I'm voting Obama out. He's a liar.

Obama may not be the fighter everyone hoped for; however, he is NOT a liar! there are a very small few of us who were and still are for Obama, we see the whole picture and not what the media and Republicans trick you into thinking. Shame sooo many do not do their research and make up their own minds instead of allowing and believing the President can do as he pleases, that is just not true. Regardless, he is a great, kind man so please do not call him a liar. Vote him out, that is your choice but please don't just attack him, not fair!

I wish I could say I'm optimistic about this...

I invite all of you to speak at the polls! I'm sick and tired (SAT) of congress and their monkey business partisan play-tactics. Let's organize our own SAT protest and vote them ALL out of office as their terms come up. What a sham and I too am ashamed that our government cannot dialogue and collaborate on real issues better than they are demonstrating to their constituents. We simply have to show our dissatisfaction. Term limits for our little local darlings is a start...Are you SAT???

I am also sick and tired (SAT) of the BS going on in our Federal government. I feel that if we don't vote out most of the incumbents in 2012, regardless of political party, the problems with our Congress will continue and things will continue to not get done.

that cause the GOP is listening to the greys instead of the father of human's GOP your being fooled your going to detroy yours selves besides the planet and other people.

http://templeofenki.bravehost.com/Grey.html

The miopic vision of our leaders in US government is apparent. My question is? do any of those govt. people realize they too live on this earth and they too will be feeling the effects of all this polluting and destruction of our pristine forests and waters. They are not immune to the world. What is wrong with their thinking can be summed up in two words THE BOTTOMLINE. You know what I think? They don't think at all. Get those fools out of Congress now.

We are running out of oil much more quickly than was predicted. Instead of an all-out effort to develop alternative energy sources while we still have some oil left, Big Oil, its lackies in Congress and its corporate cronies are hell bent on extracting every drop, no matter what the cost. All they can see is the potential for huge profits and nothing else. It takes energy to make solar panels and wind turbines in large enough quantities to replace fossil fuel generation. Right now alternative energy sources cannot generate that energy necessary for production and many components are no longer manufactured in the USA. What do these corporatist idiots think is going to happen when the oil spigot shuts off? By that time the US will have no capacity to make what we need for generating renewable energy and we won't be able to get anything from those countries that had the foresight to prepare.
The liars who propose clean coal can replace oil are just that...liars. Coal is always filthy and polluting and you can't run your car with it. Natural gas extraction is becoming an environmental disaster, so no help there either.
It sickens me to realize that soon it is likely that most of us will be living back in the 18th century because of blind greed.

WE CERTAINLY HAVE TONS OF SHORT SIGHTED AMERICANS-BOTH PUBLIC AND GOVERNMENTAL!
SEEMS THEY WANT TO DESTROY EVERYTHING THE FOUNDERS OF THIS COUNTRY DID TO BUILD IT TO LAST!
WHERE IS THEIR CONCERN FOR THE NEXT GENERATION, IF NOT FOR THIS ONE?
SHAME, SHAME, SHAME FOR YOUR LACK OF CONSIDERATION FOR OTHERS AND YOUR SELFISHNESS!!

My friends, the disaster that is coming won't even wait for the next generation. We are at the END OF OIL. No matter what kind of junk is broadcast by the corporate media,the signs are obvious. Big Oil is going where it has never been before due to cost and difficulty of extraction. Scarcity of oil and the export demand from Asia is making this worthwhile. They are going to the bitter end and that end is going to be soon and abrupt. I just hope it comes before they make the earth unlivable.

I hate to say it but wherever milk toast humans abide, disaster takes over. These Republicans are so afraid they won't get enough, like children fighting over breast milk, they are willing to turn a deaf ear to the destruction of our and the world's environment. It's one thing to read about Darfur and other parts of the world being in peril, it's quite another to acknowledge we are next.

The sad truth is, we did this to ourselves with our selfish indifference, our narcissistic, egomaniacal, putrefying behaviors in our use and abuse of fossil fuels, electricity, carcinogenic chemicals, textiles, cars, boats, larger than need be houses, the list goes on. This country is going to soon experience what it's like to live on cyclical electricity, water that is laden with amoebas that kill, elderly that are left to die because there is no money to keep them alive, an increased infantile death rate, millions upon millions of innocent animals butchered because nobody wants them and as bad, the destruction of our farming system, so animals are brutalized in factory farms, the likes of which have not been seen since Auschwitz. Oh yes, it is coming.

These simple fools are the first to cry in their soup when they can't live the American Dream! This Boehner is mentally unstable. Crying because he wants to live the American dream? What an ass. WE ALL want a dream. Who is to say which dream is better than the other. MY dream is a world of wind power, solar energy, non GMO food, non toxic recycled building materials, better, new building materials that are truly green, meaning no outgassing no VOCs, not just recycled which often is not second stage green.

A world where we don't have animal shelters where 800,000 animals die every year just because and where our food is garnered honestly with humanity as it once was.

Keep dreaming their Boehner, because I predict your tenure as Speaker of the House will leave a legacy nobody will be proud of, especially those children you claim to care sooo much about.

Get a grip.

I whole downheartedly agree. If I were you, I would cut your post and paste it to Bone-head Boenher's email and then press send. Most of these morons in Washington D.C. are already living the high life, and we are the prime contributors to that lifestyle. With their attitude towards Greens and Progressives, it begs the question why we are forced to cover their bills, especially health bills.

I was supposed to get rid of the word "whole" before I submitted my comment. Sorry everybody.

I was supposed to get rid of the word "whole" before I submitted my comment. Sorry everybody.

Wonderfully spoken! And painfully true! Mother Earth will beat us all at the game of life when she does her boogie move.

The health of the planet is the important cause to work for. Those greedy for oil do not understand. War and the preparation are thes most harmful action to the earth. We must continue to renounce war and all uses of oil.

The health of the planet is the important cause to work for. Those greedy for oil do not understand. War and the preparation are thes most harmful action to the earth. We must continue to renounce war and all uses of oil.

The GOP is so afraid that any thing to stop any project to affect the environment they feel will hurt jobs. Sorry if we don't take care of the planet and what was given to us to protect from the Lord there won't be a planet to take care of. Every thing they say is false and it is so sad there are so many people who believe them. We must protect our environment and create more energy and get away from oil now not 10 years from now.

I live in Fairbanks, Alaska. I am an oceanographer by training. I was involved in research examining the effects f the Exxon Valdez spill. Nearly 23 years later, the ecosystem has not recovered. Oil can still be found there. I have also worked in climate change research - specifically in the Chuckchi and Beaufort Seas. The arctic is warming, and human contribution to this warming is not in doubt. Sea ice is thinning, forms later in the year and melts earlier in the year as well as not extending as far south. The permafrost is melting outgassing more CO2 and CH4 exacerbating the problem. Whole villages have had to be moved because of storm activity creating massive coastal erosion as there is not sea ice hugged to the shore to protect the shore. I could go on.
I have also seen the industrial sprawl that is Prudhoe Bay - it is disgusting. One sees gas beng flared off - wasted. It is a maze of buildings, roads, pipes.
The reason for the Obama's administration approval for Shell to commence drilling next year is simple. The Military Industrial Complex "needs" the oil to fuel its planes, tanks, ships, etc so that they can continue to wage these wars for years to come. It is indeed sad when this country, once the leader in innovative research and technology now is near the bottom of the pile. China, Saudi Arabia are looking into green energy. Germany is leading the charge for the Europeans. As long as America stays addicted to oil, continues to wage wars all over the world which require huge amounts of oil, and refuses to do anything about it (and with the GOP controlling the House, don't hold your breath), the decline and collapse of this country is guaranteed and hastened. I say within a decade, America will be no longer.

I could not agree with you more. The sooner the collapse, the better for all, in my opinion. It might be real violent and challenging to most, but out of that turmoil, people will once again connect with nature, learn to live sustainably, and become morally stronger. Maybe society will realize that government does not resolve our issues; government creates our problems.

If we don't start using alternative energy,soon.
this discussion is moot.too late.
thanks for playing.
see you,,,,,,never.

If we don't start using alternative energy,soon.
this discussion is moot.too late.
thanks for playing.
see you,,,,,,never

We need to break our addiction to oil!!! We already have the technology to use environmentally clean energy sources, and have had it for quite some time. The greed of "Big Oil" is slowly destroying our planet!! If we don't abandon fossil fuels soon, it will be too late!!!

I have to second Nancy Fifer's immortal words:

I am not anonymous!!! I am so disgusted with oil companies whose greed is destroying the environment!!!!!!!!!!! I have signed hundreds of petitions against drilling in the Arctic and elsewhere and will continue to do so until these bastards stop the insanity.NOW

Period.

Unfortunately, I also know too well the seemingly futile efforts signing so many petitions to help our environment....and the projects remain "alive".....it makes one feel somewhat hopeless.

We do need to change! If not our children will have no future!!! We are the addicts! We need to stop! Change is the only way that we are ever going to save the good nature and wild places of our planet!

No to Artic Drilling!!

There are so many issues today with a list of corruptions facing this once great country!! Our government officials are pushing us into a ditch. Sadly the network news stations all owned by the corporate arm of America are with holding precious alerts, editorials, and even testimony of individuals speaking out.

Even though I am on the other side of my life cycle, I hope to see the people stand us like me after coming home from Vietnam to protest..... these environmental concerns will tragically harm with wildlife and earth for years to come. Listen for ways to step up and just say, "NO"

Man is killing off themselves everyday and they don't even see it until one day when it is to late they will try to reverse the damage and it will be to late and that is a fact.

L,avid d,enterprises du petrole ne connaissent pas les limites! Ca doit cesser!

It is not Shell, "the oil companies", Obama, the Republicans or Democrats. It is about the addicts which is all of us USERS. With conservation at home, with considerably and easily obtainable less usage where is the market for this extreme effort at removal? It's the addict, stupid - it's YOU - it's US.

"...before you accuse me, take a look at yourself....." Old song, message the same. I have been unaddicted to cars and oil for 50 years, since the 60's. Had an '81 Honda Cvic that got 43 miles per gallon on highways. Honda stopped exporting to USA that good mileage Civic sometime in the mid-80's. Coincidentally, about the time Reagan got himself in office. Did my government forbid import of these frugal, safe cars? They continued making them in Japan, so I assume it was stopped by non other than oilers lobbying congress.

No, you miss the point. People loved that great electric car they tested in California and there is a movie about the recall of them and the destruction of every single one of them. Because why? The oilers wanted it that way. You should not blame us the people. You must take off your mind control hookup and look at things that are real. It's real, we are being controlled by mega corps who pay no taxes in America, don't give a dam about the rest of the world, not even their own children, and who now have the constitution paralyzed. Get out and fight for recall of the Supreme Court approval of corporations as people.
That is a positive step in the right direction.

When we insult the beauty of the earth, we deprive ourselves of beauty, and descend into unhealthy ugliness. Only unhappiness and misery can come of this. We must remember that we are at the top of the food chain, and have no predators. We are courting our own demise. Our survival as a species is in deep trouble already. Are infants born with cancer not proof enough?

The bottom line is 'change'. Time moves ahead... For those of us in the 'Fall of life' we are of the opinion that 'change' would not be in the best interest of man, wildlife, environment and other values we grew up with which trumps today's seemingly 'less of everything' as we have come to know from living what we think is a good life that has evolved into our 'change' of what is important. Its not our worldly possessions but the relationships of family, friends and a strong value system. Towards those ends you meet persons that share your interests and values. You champion each others causes of interest and discovery - enter a deep interest in the Arctic. Ever since reading back in 1987 Barry Lopez's book, "Arctic Dreams", I have longed to see and experience up close the frontier North - hands-on. As author Lopez sub-titles his book “Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape", Lopez clearly spins how everywhere is in danger of destruction in the interest of ever-elusive claimed economic progress. A special opportunity to see and experience for myself has arrived - during the summer of 2012 the yacht GREY GOOSE will depart from Mobile, Alabama and travel 10,000 nautical-miles 'over the top' through the fabled Arctic Northwest Passage" to see first hand and to gain a learned understanding of places, wildlife and the indigenous people of the North - they have been there in the Arctic for thousands of years - before the Egyptian pyramids - now rapid change is occuring which threatens the entire Arctic. Can man control change to the Arctic? Should he? What change should be allowed? What protections are possible? Who should be making these decisions? So many questions - without going to the Arctic - studying the Arctic and answering hard questions about the Arctic - will it survive for generations to come? You are invited to join me and see for yourself.

Welcome aboard!

Douglas Pohl
Master
MV GREY GOOSE
http://www.northwestpassage2012.com/

Drilling in the Arctic is tantamount to Fracking, it is a obvious sign of desperation, in search of the last dead dinosaur. Shell is so desperate to continue to seek profits, they are willing as usual to take enormous risks. Given the current economic and political scene, they shall enjoy the same relief as BP did in the Gulf.

It is dangerous and irresponsible for our Government to allow Shell or any other company to begin to exploit the Arctic Sea, along with the immediate region. Sure, Shell can design special ships, drilling platforms, housing units to insure year around production but can they insure an immediate response in the event of an oil spill.

Using history to guide us, I would say NO!

I agree with you completely Michael. Those who ignore the lesson of history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, the corporations control America and Big Oil is the worst of the worst. They are determined to suck out the last drop no matter what.

I am not anonymous!!! I am so disgusted with oil companies whose greed is destroying the environment!!!!!!!!!!! I have signed hundreds of petitions against drilling in the Arctic and elsewhere and will continue to do so until these bastards stop the insanity.NOW

I odnt' understand.I thought Obama was responsible for the Shell oil permit. then along comes Obama cutting clean air and water standards to be administered by the EPA. who is respnsible, anyway?

The Palmyra Atoll is a tropical coral reef island in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. It’s warm, tiny and far from the vast, frigid Arctic. And yet these distant, disparate places are as alike in one sense as any two places on Earth.

Each is an early victim of humankind’s addiction to fossil fuels and our constantly affirmed determination to stay addicted.

Like other low-lying communities around the world, the Palmyra Atoll, only a few feet from sea level, is quietly disappearing under rising ocean waters. As the Arctic melts—at a near-record pace—the ocean is warming and expanding. These islands and their inhabitants are literally at the water’s edge of global climate disaster.

But, while the evidence of global warming is clear and the science overwhelming, the unwillingness of nations to address this shared problem is perplexing. Even the Obama administration has taken actions that keep us tethered to the oil dependency that contributes so much to climate change.

"This has got to stop!"

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