Posts tagged: Arctic

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Arctic


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
06 May 2011, 1:25 PM
Despite powerful evidence, council 'overlooks' climate change

Polar bears are drowning. Huge glaciers are melting. Low-lying cities are worried. All because of climate change. But, when the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.

Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.

The council deals with crucial Arctic issues such as climate change, black carbon, oil exploration and drilling, and arctic shipping. Their report, released this week, details how global sea levels will rise at least five feet within the century in large part because of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Nonetheless, climate change isn't an agenda item.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
20 April 2011, 3:39 PM
Ambitious, ill-prepared petroleum industry eyes the Gulf, the Arctic, the heartland

One year ago, the BP oil spill had just started turning the Gulf of Mexico's blue waters to the color of rust. Triggered on April 20, 2010 by a well-rig explosion that killed 11 people, the spill would gush more than 200 million gallons of crude oil—the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Before the well was finally capped three months later, untold numbers of birds, dolphins, sea turtles and other wildlife had perished in the muck, or possibly from the chemicals used to disperse it. Along the Gulf coast, communities suffered as tourism dropped and fishing seasons closed. Anxiety soared amid debates over the spill's price tag—including who would pay for it. While it is undeniable that the spill has caused and will continue to cause massive damage to Gulf ecosystems and communities, we won't understand the full impact for years.

One thing, however, is clear: the BP spill brought more to the surface than just crude oil. It exposed a culture of corruption in the federal agency tasked with issuing and overseeing permits to drill for oil in our nation's coastal waters. The Minerals Management Service systematically disregarded bedrock environmental protections by granting the oil industry exemptions to these laws and allowing BP and other companies to drill without concrete plans to clean up oil in the event of a large spill. This helps explain why it took BP a full three months—and numerous failed attempts—to cap the well. It simply wasn't prepared.

14 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 April 2011, 4:02 PM
We've got a plan, sez Shell, on anniversary of Gulf oil spill
Imagine this in case of an Arctic oil spill

Just one year after the nation's worst oil spill, Shell Oil is reaffirming its plans to drill the Arctic Ocean next year. While that's not exactly breaking news, what is new is Shell's announcement of an oil spill containment plan designed especially for the Arctic Ocean environment. Here's that plan as described in the Wall Street Journal:

Shell said it has a three-tier, Arctic oil-spill response system consisting of an on-site oil-spill response fleet, near-shore barges and oil-spill response vessels, and onshore oil-spill response teams staged across the North Slope of Alaska that in the event of a blowout or spill could be ready to respond within one hour.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
31 March 2011, 5:56 AM
One year after Gulf oil spill, he calls for expansion of drilling

As oil and gas prices again climb in response to Middle East travails, the phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill” has re-entered the national conversation—but it’s President Obama who did the uttering this time. And it sounds like he means it.

Obama mentioned the mantra Tuesday night in a speech about energy independence that came across like the opening shot in his 2012 bid for reelection. Alluding to “D,B,D,” the president said this is no time to be caught up in meaningless rhetoric that stampedes us to nowhere.

We have to end our national addiction to oil, he warned, giving environmentalists brief hope that he was pushing a clean energy agenda. But, before environmentalists could start feeling too warm and fuzzy, the president made clear that he meant… foreign oil. Curing that particular addiction, sez the prez, means we must start drilling domestically—offshore, onshore, in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, too. The Alaska mention stirred some hope among drilling enthusiasts there about the potential for drilling the Arctic.

Just one year after the worst human-caused oil spill in our history, Obama said we’ve learned our lessons and it’s time to start applying them—with deepwater drilling rigs. And, right on cue Wednesday, Shell Oil was celebrating its receipt of the first new deepwater oil drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil spill.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Abby Rubinson's blog posts
25 February 2011, 10:29 AM
Drlling plans proceed despite inability to clean up oil spills
Oil platforms along Gompertz Channel and Cook Inlet. © Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com

Russia is moving ahead with plans to drill in the Arctic (with BP at its side, no less). This is a clear wake-up call: Arctic basin countries need to create an agreement on international environmental standards for the Arctic.

Because oil exploration exposes the Arctic to spills that cross artificial boundaries on a map, international circumpolar environmental standards are critical to help prevent oil spills and respond effectively when they happen (lest we have another Valdez or Deepwater Horizon oil spill on our hands).

Russia is honest about a vital detail that the United States isn’t willing to admit: They don’t have the ability to clean up a spill in the Arctic.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 February 2011, 4:15 PM
House lawmakers continue to slash essential protections for the American public

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

Once the amendments are voted on and settled, the whole House will cast a final vote on the entire bill package with all the passed amendments. Then the Senate takes its turn, crafting a spending bill of its own. The two chambers must then confer and agree on one bill that funds the federal government by March 4 -- or the government must shut down until its spending and funding sources are settled.

The amendments that the House is currently considering are wide-ranging. They aim to cut government spending by cutting the funding streams of hundreds of government programs. So, instead of ending those programs through legislation and appropriate voting, many members of the House are seeking to delete the programs by wiping out the funds that keep them going.

View Patti Goldman's blog posts
17 February 2011, 6:45 AM
Amendments target wildlife, water, air, public health, natural resources

Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal government running.

Unfortunately, that measure—called a continuing resolution—is loaded with amendments and provisions that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and seeks to override the rule of law at every turn.

These so-called  “riders” could not pass on their own merits, so their sponsors hope they will ride the coat-tails of this must-pass budget bill. Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants. They would overturn court decisions that we have obtained to stop illegal behavior and force federal agencies to comply with the law.

26 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Marty Hayden's blog posts
16 February 2011, 10:38 AM
Amendments to funding bill target everything from wolves to water to health
Wolves are on the congressional hit list

House Republicans are using the oft-repeated refrain of “fiscal restraint” as their excuse for gutting several environmental initiatives that will put the public in harm’s way. But there simply is no excuse for hacking away at health protections that will leave our air and water dirtier and our children and seniors at risk.  It’s not hard to see their real agenda. In many cases their proposals are clearly designed to make it easier for some of America’s biggest polluters to dump their pollution on us rather than pay to dispose of it responsibly. 

House GOP’s Public Enemy Number 1: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The spending legislation introduced this week slashes the EPA budget by $3 billion and blocks the agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. And in a symbolic dig against the White House, the bill also stymies President Barack Obama from replacing departing lead White House climate and energy advisor Carol Browner.
 
The spending plan also tries to block the EPA from fully implementing the Clean Water Act, while effectively letting major polluters foul our water. This will jeopardize drinking water for 117 million Americans and could leave millions of  acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams and rivers without Clean Water Act protections from pollution. But it doesn’t stop there.

7 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 February 2011, 3:53 PM
Legislative amendments target air, water, public lands and wildlife

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bill with amendments that will cripple protections for our water, air, natural resources, wildlife and public health. 

Not since the darkest days of the Bush administration have we seen such an onslaught on the environment—and the hits are still coming. By mid-day today (Tues., Feb. 15), the list has grown to include attacks on a number of endangered species, including wolves and salmon, and on the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep lethal pollutants out of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Some amendments are outright handouts to our nation’s worst polluters.

The spending bill will fund the government so that it can continue operating after March 4, but first the Senate must pass the bill. Today, Pres. Barack Obama warned that he would veto the bill as constructed.

The following is a list of the most harmful provisions and amendments proposed so far:

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
03 February 2011, 1:11 PM
Company needs to address major environmental issues
Not this summer

You can blame Earthjustice, our clients, Alaska Native allies, and a little thing called the Gulf oil spill for Shell Oil’s just-announced decision to not drill this summer in offshore Arctic waters.

Work by Alaska Natives, with aid from our advocacy and legal efforts kept Shell from drilling last year in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and stalled Shell’s attempts to obtain a drilling permit for this summer. Now, the company has given up on this year and will focus on drilling in 2012.
 
This is good news, but it’s no cure for what fundamentally ails the drilling industry.