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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Arctic Drilling Fleet Poised To Sail


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View Tom Turner's blog posts
15 June 2012, 12:18 PM
Shell Oil hopes to drill this summer
The Shell drillship Kulluk, off the Seattle, WA, waterfront. (Dave Nakayama)

As I write this, ships are being prepared to steam northward from several ports to begin poking holes in the floor of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in search of oil.

Thanks to legal action by Earthjustice over the last few years, and thanks also to a one-year time-out called in the wake of the catastrophic blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the drilling has been forestalled, but it could finally begin this July. Legal challenges are still pending, but the odds seem long against them.

That said, this is closer to the beginning of this struggle than to its end.

Discussions are under way for international agreements that would provide cooperation in the case of accidents, but for now it’s drill first, negotiate later. An agreement on search-and-rescue has been reached, but that’s all so far.

In the wake of the Gulf disaster, a commission was put in place to assess the accident and make recommendations. The commission—disbanded a year ago and reconstituted on its own recently—gave Congress a D for passing nothing to head off a repeat.

Meanwhile, oil companies and their favorite politicians continue to propose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration, as coal companies eye vast coal deposits beneath northern Alaska, and mining concerns plan to explore for other minerals.

The battle for the Arctic is just beginning.

I may be tired, retired, but never tired of pointing out that "It's 'the People'" that should be emphasized in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, not "the Corporations". Like the old song about "a new revolution", it's past time we stopped giving away public resources to privately held corporations managed on the basis of agency theory. Too many times we and government leaders/administrators have seen corporations promise to be "good neighbors" in the extraction and transport of our natural resources, only to have an "Oops!" moment of disaster (Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, MountainTop Removal are but a few), after which it is left to the individual ("We, The People") to deal with the cleanup and loss of livelihoods and future options. Exxon/Mobil reported quarterly earnings up 41% from last year (Robert Herold, "MBAs Gone Wild", www.inlander.com June21-27, 2012 issue). According to agency theory, which defines Mitt Romney, the economy can do well while unemployment remains high. "Corporations are people, too, my friend," said Mr. Romney. People do not litter others beaches with tarballs, kill off the plankton of Prince William Sound upon which so much life depends (and claim cleanup's done because the water's so clear and pristine), and drag loss of livelihood recompense claims through the legal system for twenty years.
I'm a former crewman of a commercial fishing vessel in the Prince William Sound near-shore response fleet, with training/experience in hydrogeology, fishery biology, and other subjects.

Thank you
The information you shared is very informative.
Fleet

I love this planet of ours so much so I sold my old gas burner and I will never drive again until the USA get their act together and start making cars that can run on water or salt water, why not if the oceans cover most of the earth why not use it instead of oil. I ride my bicycle every where I need to go I only use public transportation if I need to travel long distances, just think if more people were like recyclingearthenergy.com how better this world would be!
I guess the world dose not care about things like the Gulf oil spill that is still with us to this day their are still cleaning it up.

Mike Utsler, President of BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, gives a helicopter tour of the Gulf Coast region—flying over Mississippi, Barrier Islands, Mobile, Alabama, Dolphin Island, and the Florida Panhandle to witness the environmental and economic progress that's being made. It's been two years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, but BP is still honoring its commitment to support tourism and seafood industries.

Ya on the back of Americans

The Arctic is vastly different from temperate zones.

The Arctic, with its short summer and long dark winter, its fragile and acidic soils, and its limited vegetation means that any disturbance will take centuries, rather than years, to heal.

The way Arctic ice and snow reflect in-coming heat from the sun is the most important factor in keeping the rest of the Earth from being overheated.

Without the moderating effect of the Ice Caps, in time, we will all die.

I Totally agree. It seems that the oil cartels do not care about their own grandchildren. The destruction of our earth is happening all too fast.

Arctic summers and winters are of equal length. They're colder than temperate zones, but equally long.

The Arctic is vastly different from temperate zones.

The Arctic, with its short summer and long dark winter, its fragile and acidic soils, and its limited vegetation means that any disturbance will take centuries, rather than years, to heal.

The way Arctic ice and snow reflect in-coming heat from the sun is the most important factor in keeping the rest of the Earth from being overheated.

Without the moderating effect of the Ice Caps, in time, we will all die.

Too many companies and activities proceed without clearly thinking through the total process to the end. Yes, there are trees to fire a forge, but around Warwick, PA, thousands of acres of woodland was clear-cut, taking at least a century to reforest. Yes, coal will heat our homes and fire the steel mills, but no one considered the soot in the air and the rivers. Oil can be shipped by boat, but how is an oil spill cleaned up, or wild life protected, or beaches cleaned up? Fill in the marshlands, but what plans are there for river surges?

Drill in Arctic waters, and what happens to the home land ( or homewater, in this case) of some of the largest water species, as well as the polar bear>

Why is not more effort made to adjust our energy sources to that which is renewed, not that which depletes as well as fouls the earth instead of looking for the easiest, cheapest and least sustainable sources?

You fail to be responsible political leaders of the total population, as well as your moral duty to all the inhabitants on the earth.

Amen

Amen

Too many companies and activities proceed without clearly thinking through the total process to the end. Yes, there are trees to fire a forge, but around Warwick, PA, thousands of acres of woodland was clear-cut, taking at least a century to reforest. Yes, coal will heat our homes and fire the steel mills, but no one considered the soot in the air and the rivers. Oil can be shipped by boat, but how is an oil spill cleaned up, or wild life protected, or beaches cleaned up? Fill in the marshlands, but what plans are there for river surges?

Drill in Arctic waters, and what happens to the home land ( or homewater, in this case) of some of the largest water species, as well as the polar bear>

Why is not more effort made to adjust our energy sources to that which is renewed, not that which depletes as well as fouls the earth instead of looking for the easiest, cheapest and least sustainable sources?

You fail to be responsible political leaders of the total population, as well as your moral duty to all the inhabitants on the earth.

I simply could not agree more. The so called 'leaders' of country have earned degrees in "looking the other way" when it comes to the protection and preservation of our land and environment.

You all know it's big money that counts and big oil that has all the power. That's not the way our country should be run. But it is, and those people don't care about what happens to our land or our people - they only care about lining their pockets. If these people continue to have their way, our land, oceans, rivers and streams, our air will all be laid waste, and EVERYONE and EVERYTHING on this planet will suffer.

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