The Latest On: Oceans
Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is as much ocean as land. It includes saltwater bays, fjords, canals, channels, and too many islands to count.
At this intersection of land and ocean, life flourishes where forest creeks and streams empty nutrients into shallow saltwater bays. Among other species, dungeness crabs flourish, fed seasonally by the carcasses of spawned out salmon.
One such estuary 20 miles south of Petersburg in Alexander Bay is a place called the Pothole. It’s named for the crab pots used by the commercial crab fishery that thrives there.
Shell Oil has until the end of October to wrap up drilling operations in the Arctic.
This week, a great piece of photojournalism illustrates just how close their Kulluk drill rig is to the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which Earthjustice fought for years to protect.
The “Big Oil” companies are breaking ranks. The fourth largest oil company in the world told the Financial Times yesterday that drilling in the Arctic is too risky, a position held by the environmental community for the past seven years.
It’s not the passing of Russell Train – who died Monday at 92 – that we remember, but the life he led as a powerful, humble, principled warrior for the Earth.
Mr. Train was chairman of the newly created White House Council on Environmental Quality before President Nixon picked him to be the second head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a role that fully launched his career as a conservationist, recalls Joan Mulhern, a colleague of mine who worked with this remarkable man to protect the Clean Water Act.
After the summer we have had, my mind is on climate change, what more Earthjustice can do about it, and what’s at stake in this election.
I experienced the effects of climate change this summer during a trip through Colorado. Heat, drought and fire set an almost apocalyptic tone for the trip. There was no snow on the peaks, stream flows were down, and smoke filled the air. Similar impacts afflicted 60 percent of our nation and spread over three continents; sea ice coverage in the Arctic was at a record low.
In April 2010, a national nightmare began with a blowout into the Gulf of Mexico. But the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill were just the beginning of the disaster. We are still learning about the real damage, which is much more insidious than tar balls and slicked beaches.
U.S. Coast Guard divers are now on the way to Dutch Harbor, Alaska to inspect the 571-foot drill rig Noble Discoverer, which is scheduled to drill three exploratory wells in the American Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea as early as August. The locals say it ran aground in the harbor in broad daylight on Saturday and took pictures to prove it. Shell Oil Co. says otherwise; it “lost its moorings and came close to the coast.” We’ll have to wait and see what the Coast Guard has to say about reasons for the mistake.