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Going to Extremes In Arctic: Is it Worth It?


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18 January 2013, 4:05 PM
Industry not ready for offshore drilling in treacherous waters
Shell drill rig grounded near Kokiak Island. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter)

As Royal Dutch Shell continues to make perfectly clear, industry is not prepared to safely explore for oil in the pristine waters of America’s Arctic. Shell’s Arctic operations have been called the “gold standard” of the oil industry and if this is the best they’ve got, the industry is not Arctic ready.

Beyond the arguments of the Arctic being a harsh, dangerous, infrastructure-less environment, the question remains, does it make economic sense to drill for oil in this remote region now for barrels of oil in 10 years? In 12 years, cars will be averaging 54.5 mpg. Energy efficiency and a growing renewable fuel market are also making headway. U.S. oil production hit its highest level in 20 years in 2012 and it is projected to increase an additional 14 percent this year—without the extreme oil of the Arctic. In 10 years, will Americans need the extreme oil of the Arctic that Shell is so desperately seeking?

What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. In addition to the potentially catastrophic local impacts, climate pollution from drilling in the region, especially black carbon emissions from the drill fleet accelerates Arctic warming and melting. Black carbon, which was reported this week to be the second-largest human contributor to climate change after CO2. It is even worse when this pollution is emitted in the Arctic where it has direct effects on ice.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should take notice on his way out the door to Colorado that our country is done with lining the pockets of the oil industry and we do care about climate change and special places like the Arctic. Tens of thousands of our supporters have already written to the Secretary and President Obama this week. Our goal is 60,000.

Caution and concern goes beyond the environmental community. As the drill ships were being prepared to head north for the summer, Lloyd’s of London warned that offshore drilling in the Arctic would “constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk.” The insurance giant also urged companies to “think carefully about the consequences of action” before exploring for oil in the region. Watching Shell's problems, Norwegian Statoil continues to defer its plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean, and French oil company Total SA ended the year by publicly calling Arctic drilling too risky for any company."

The Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, a group of 45 Democratic congressional representatives, called for a formal investigation of the Kulluk incident in order to determine whether Shell should be allowed to continue drilling for oil in Alaskan waters. And my personal favorite quote; Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said recently:

Oil companies keep saying they can conquer the Arctic, but the Arctic keeps disagreeing with the oil companies.

This week, former EPA administrator and the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change policy under President Barack Obama Carol Browner and former Chief of Staff for President Clinton, John Podesta delivered a strong warning to stay out of the Arctic.

Secretary Salazar has called for a 60-day investigation into Shell’s 2012 Arctic operations and media reports say there is an ongoing criminal investigation into pollution related to their drilling vessels. The top dogs from U.S. environmental groups sent Salazar a letter last week requesting a time out. We can go on about rigs hitting shores and the numerous “free passes” the Administration has granted Shell. Now is the time for the President and his team to recognize that drilling in the Arctic now just does not make sense and poses too great a risk.

Meanwhile, our attorneys here at Earthjustice will continue to represent its clients in challenging flawed and unlawful oil and gas permits that put the Arctic Ocean, its wildlife and its people at risk. Our aim is to promote a clean energy future and protect the pristine American Arctic waters from harmful industrial activities in the short term with a long-term focus of conservation based on the best available science.

Leave the The Arctic alone.Oil companies go home.

If it feels wrong than it is wrong. When people are concerned there is probably a really good reason. No drilling. There are enough facts proving how horrible it is and I do not want my daughter living in a greedy oily world.

Why are we drilling oil in this "last frontier" when we are only PROJECTING the amount of oil that we THINK we will need, which is based on current usage? That is insane. I'm all for being prepared for the worst case scenario but why not spend the next ten years CONSERVING petroleum instead of assuming Americans will continue to use the high amounts of fuel we are using now?
This article--which I found to be very helpful--makes me think of Sarah Palin's phrase, "Drill baby drill." When I first heard her say that a few years ago I almost went into shock (well, that may be a slight exaggeration). How could she possibly condone the raping of the earth for all of its ages-old resources? As a woman, she should be much more in touch with the abuses patriarchy inflicts on "mother" nature, many times for material gain and global prestige.

The evidence is all in. Will the money power of the corporate lunatic fringe win out?

Does the American public have to endure a continuing and disastrous legacy from Salazar's single minded destruction of all that is good in favor of his rancher friends and big oil? Stop him before he goes out the door. Enough - enough risky oil drilling - enough wolves slaughtered including ones that Americans have followed for years in Yellowstone - enough fracking - enough wild horse roundups and sale to slaughter by his business partner - ENOUGH. Can I say it one more time? ENOUGH. Just because he gave you lots of money on the last election, he must be stopped - you do not have to be re-elected, so how about paying attention to the vast majority of Americans who do not want these policies and treasure our natural heritage. I know you don't care much for these things, but please - stop this devil. We can't pay any more for his boudless greed and corruption. STOP HIM.

Please don't allow Shell to drill for oil in Alaskan waters, as they have a long history of "accidental" pollutions. Thanks.

Keep fighting for the earth and its life... and when requesting people sign petitions, 60k is not enough...let's go for 200k?

No drilling in the Arctic: for the sake of both the indigenous people and for the wildlife.

No drilling in the Arctic: for the sake of both the indigenous people and for the wildlife.

Exploration for oil in the Arctic is dangerous to the climate of the entire planet and must not be allowed.

are the oil companies stupid or just greedy get out now

Our environment has taken a back-seat for far too long to the money interests in Washington. Without a viable planet, on which every species, including us, is valued and seen as part of the great web and intimately connected, we will not survive. Oil companies and interests have controlled our destiny and our spending and that needs to change. Humans must adjust to a new world where we support instead alternative energy. Profits for corporations cannot continue to be the most important factor for energy decisions.

Thank you for being vigilant and fighting to protect the the Arctic from the greed and the arrogance of men and pure profit corporations. Without pause or remorse these fools would burn the Earth to ash to make a few bucks today if we allow them.

Please stop drilling in Alaska before it is too late!

No place is ever the same after drilling. Even after the drilling stops the damage can take years and costs millions to restore to safe levels for life to live there. The president is walking a political tightrope by trying to please the people and the oil companies. He could have at least come out one way or the other. This way we all lose.

Fossil fuels are antiquated. Government has been bought to keep the status quo. The air and water will soon poison us all to death. The ones with the most money wins? Greed is a sickness. Mr. President, please stand up for your girls children.

People need to wake up! GM has had a car (in Europe) since BEFORE 2005, that has been getting over 110 mpg! Don't believe me? Google hi efficiency/extreme autos. They have been setting records left and right. Last year their car AVERAGED 145 mph at 112 mpg for a 24 hour Lemans style race. They do NOT use some exotic power plant, it's a deisle engine with turbo boost. I want one!!

To paraphrase Gov. George Wallace.Conservation Here, Conservation Now, Conservation Forever. We can learn to become embracers of our wonderful planetary home, not exploiters. Happiness is not increased by short term materiel gains but in understanding and investing in deeper processes always at work. and available to All equally.

We've done enough damdage to the environment, please protect the arctic by not allowing drilling.

We must stop destroying wildlife and nature recklessly. There are better sources of energy that must be utilized to the fullest instead of drilling and doing permanent damage.

A catastrophe waiting to happen! Get the rigs out of there, and keep them out! Geeeeez

A catastrophe waiting to happen! Get the rigs out of there, and keep them out! Geeeeez

Keep fighting to secure the beauty of our land. It is all the USA citizens and visitors from other countries land. God did not give it to industry to do as they wish and not care about what belongs to all of our people inheritance to visit and see.

Please stop the Artic drilling.

It's long past time to stop this business of abusing the earth. It is our home. It is our source. It takes care of us, feeds us. to treat it with disrespect it is insane and stupid. Zoe Carpenter

There is an old saying, which seems to be true in this unneeded project: We make plans and God laughs! What are the Arctic waters saying to the oil companies? You make grandiose plans and we will show you our strength and power to keep you out!

Since France and other European countries have Banned the Fracking process then why do they want the U.S. to Frack natural gas and ship it to them?? IMPORTANT: Deadline soon -January 24th is the last day to submit comments on a deeply flawed economic study that the Obama Administration will use to decide whether or not to permit gas corporations to export liquefied natural gas (LNG). They are exempt from the clean water/air act. call 888-660-2594
WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP THIS. are there other petitions to be signed? whom can i post on facebook to contact to voice our concerns and say that we dont want this.

Stop drilling

Stop drilling

Keep funding research for other renewable, non environmentally damaging energy sources. We're done with oil - forget drilling in the Arctic. Do you want to kill us all in a slow, debilitating way????? Fund our scientists - stop funding Big Profitable Oil - their profits could fund all of Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare annually.

A vehicle will run on vapor with use of minamal fuel, so we don't need to destroy the pristine Arctic environments. Release the technology we already have and leave the oil in the arctic!

It is shameful that with all this concern for our environment the New York Times is
closing its environment desk....I hope you will take out a petition against the NYT
and ask them to put off this decision. (I have already written a note of protest)

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=13-P13-00003&segmentID=4

Whe must stop to destroy the Planet . Whe have only this one!

Whe must stop to destroy the Planet . Whe have only this one!

Please allow me to post here what was posted on a similar article. It more or less describes your fate. Here goes...

Old Coyote Knose... that exponental growth of the human/baboony population... and the global consumer economy... on Planet Over-Birth Earth, a HOST ORGANISM of finite space and finite material resources, cannot be sustained. Exponential growth in a closed loop system (the Earth) is NOT progress. It is cancer! Full blown cancer!

The baboony civilization trundles down a dangerous road headed for a dead end called... EXTINCTION. This happens when a culture of rapacious corp-rat grrreeed, institutional corruption and collective denial of the general populous (as we presently $uffer in faster poo-food Amerika) trumps a culture of honesty, integrity and truth.

Hey! When you see a man wearing a corp-rat coat over a 'dog collared shirt' and a 'dog leash tie', you're seeing a god damn liar! A corp-rat! Or a poliitician. Maybe a preacher.

Not that I would trust the 'blue collar baboonies' either. Most unfortunately... it's not the nature of most humans see beyond their sex organs. And some baboonies can't even see that far... simply because their bloated sugar-pop bellies blocks the view for the sake of diabetes born from Coke, Pepsi, Mountain 'Doo-Doo', etc. Not to mention the mystery meat being hawked by the child molester clown at McFondals (and other faster poo-food outlets).

Old Coyote Knose.... that humans beings (a.k.a.: 'ewe-man-unkind') are colorful, creative and imaginative... but they lack honesty, prescience and common sense. That is why the United $tates of Perpetual War Profiteering will cease to exist (as we presently recognize it) by 2050 or 2060. And the remainder of the violent and willfully ignorant baboony civilization will be perched at the edge of EXTINCTION by 2100.

BEWARE! BEWARE! My 'Court Jester' pen can '$hake-spear' and also '$hak-esp-ear'. It can make manifest the word! And ewe-folks... are getting it here! Yesss... Old Coyote Knose that time runs short for 'ewe-folks'.

R.R.R.

It would be nice if we could understand this post, but it sounds like a lot of incoherant nonsense!

We did too uh damage to Mother Earth already. Take a stand against oil companies. Why is is that they get more help from our government than anybody else??? I wish I received some of those federal subsidies.

Bravo. We must do everything we can to keep the oil companies out of the Arctic.

Please stop the unnecessary idea to drill in the Arctic. With the way future technology is developing, we are moving away from using as much oil with cars now getting more to the gallon, or cars running on different energy sources, should be moving away from using oil all together. So ask yourself, is it really worth it to drill in the rough Arctic sea for a little more oil, and hold the risk of a potential disaster at the same time? I do not believe it is, and I think many Americans out there would agree. The long term solution of environmental sustainability is much more important, than the sort term, quick fix solution of drilling for oil.
Sometimes you have to be patient and wade through some struggles to rise to a greater solution. The best way is not always the easiest way, but it is worth it in the end.
Please consider these thoughts, as I am speaking for many Americans who feel the same way.
Thank you.

Everyone knows that they are not drilling for us. They are shipping to foreign countries. They are ruining our last frontier.

it's obvious that auto makers are making headway in producing vehicles with higher mpg's look at the roads!!!! and look at the windmills on our prairie we are slowly but surely making progress in areas of clean energy why mess up some of our pristine earth areas by drilling for a product that is on it's way out particularly if the drilling technology is flawed and unsafe

Prohibit drilling in the arctic!!!

This is an example of greed and of no concern about damage which is highly likely. If the Gulf of Mexico which is relatively "safe" had a disaster, the artic climate almost insures disaster.

Please do not allow drilling in the Arctic region...sea or land!!!

Hey Mr. Obama.
Have defended you twice now at the polls because
You claim to be the one who can see through
The rich mans " crap" and lies! Also you portray
Yourself as " Intelligent", Now- stand UP!
Use your intelligence and give Back to the people
Who voted you in that place of Power, Too Defend
The Planet and the lower and middle class people's
Wishes!! Whom are talking here, Do Not Let Them Greedy Bastards
Drill On the Arctic Anymore!
You Know Better than this Mr Obama.

We need to stop polluting our world with fossil luels; a good way to stop is to STOP SUBSIDIZING OIL, COAL AND GAS CORPORATIONS!
tHIS WOULD HELP STOP GLOBAL WARMING AS WELL AS POLLUTION--AND NOT HAVE TO TAKE FUNDS AWAY THOSE THOSE WHO REALLY NEED IT!

this needs to be stopped so many animals and people are going to lose their homes and the animals will be extinct soon don't let people drill for oil they can dig somewhere else

care for and preserve natural areas against over-exploitation of resources pollutants.

It is time to move away from carbon fuels anyway, not to further devastate the environment by taking extreme measures to extract them.

President Obama,
Please do what is needed to Stop drilling in the Arctic. NOW and FOREVER! Thanks.

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