Of all the places Earthjustice works to protect, few are as iconic and misunderstood as the Arctic. At best, it conjures images of a distant, icy land sparsely inhabited by polar bears and walruses—beautiful, but removed from our everyday lives. At worst, it's a frozen wasteland devoid of life but rich in oil, a place to exploit at will. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The Arctic is a thriving, diverse landscape filled with life. Here, caribou in the hundreds of thousands still embark on epic migrations across mighty rivers and coastal plains. And here, wetlands, lakes and oceans teem with life, supporting whales, polar bears, seals and waterfowl.
Despite the fact that Shell hasn't even started the riskiest part of its drilling operations, the company has made mistake after high-risk mistake. America can do better than risk environmental disaster by allowing the industry to explore for dirty oil from the Arctic Ocean. Make your voice heard today!
Shell's Oil Spill Response Plans
Earthjustice is representing several clients to challenge the federal government's approval of Shell Oil's oil spill response plans for the Arctic Ocean. Earthjustice brought the challenge in the Alaska District Court in July 2012. The lawsuit focuses on two spill plans—the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas spill plans—but ultimately it addresses requirements that apply nationwide.
Chemical Oil Dispersant Rulemaking
Earthjustice is representing a coalition of conservation, wildlife and public health groups in the Gulf region and in Alaska in a citizen suit under the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue a rule on chemical oil dispersants. EPA’s current rules—which during the 2010 Gulf oil disaster failed to ensure that dispersants would be used safely—do not fulfill the requirements mandated by the Clean Water Act. Currently, regulations dictating dispersants eligible for use in oil spills require minimal toxicity testing and no threshold for safety.
Trip Van Noppen is the president of Earthjustice.
Many of Trip's monthly columns have covered the decades-long legal fight to protect the fragile Arctic ecosystem from the impacts of oil and gas development.
Down to Earth is an podcast series about the news, events and personalities of Earthjustice. Listen to two Arctic-related episodes:
Acclaimed photographer Florian Schulz discusses his experiences in the rapidly changing Arctic.
Earthjustice and a coalition of conservation groups launched an ad campaign in 2010, urging the White House to call a time-out to Arctic oil drilling.
A 30 second TV spot ran nationally on CNN and on additional stations in the D.C. area. About the ad.