Scientists protest Congress’s plan to open vital Arctic wildlife refuge to oil exploration

November 10, 2017 by  
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An Alaska senator recently introduced legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. 37 Arctic wildlife scientists, including several former officials from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Geological Survey, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, responded the next day with a letter . They oppose oil and gas exploration and development, stsating “such activity would be incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established, including ‘to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity.’” Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican of Alaska and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the legislation Wednesday. On Thursday, the 37 scientists sent the letter to Murkowski and Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member of the committee and Democrat from Washington. Related: Obama shuts the door on Arctic and Atlantic drilling for next five years Murkowski’s legislation targeted the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but the scientists said in their letter, “Decades of biological study and scientific research within the Arctic Refuge have confirmed that the coastal plain specifically is vital to the biological diversity of the entire refuge.” They said polar bears, several migratory bird species, wolves, wolverines, Arctic grayling, caribou, Dolly Varden char, muskoxen, and grizzly bears all live in the coastal plain, which they said “contains the greatest wildlife diversity of any protected area above the Arctic Circle.” Polar bears are among the animals that stand to lose if drilling moves forward in this part of the Arctic. The scientists said three fourths of the coastal plain “is designated as critical habitat for polar bears, which are highly vulnerable to disturbance due to oil and gas activities.” Cantwell told Reuters she’d oppose the legislation. Murkowski’s spokesperson did not comment. Audubon , which made a copy of the letter available online , is calling on people to reach out to their representatives in Congress and ask them to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from development. Via Reuters , The Washington Post , and Audubon Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons , lead image via DepositPhotos

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Scientists protest Congress’s plan to open vital Arctic wildlife refuge to oil exploration

Trumps pick for Secretary of the Interior is an environmental disaster

December 9, 2016 by  
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President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Washington representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his Secretary of the Interior, a position that involves protecting federal land like the National Parks and conserving natural resources. Environmental groups have been quick to slam McMorris Rodgers for her environmental record – in the past, she’s voted to open public lands to drilling, mining, and logging, and in 2011 she co-sponsored a bill to sell off 3 million acres of public lands. And, like way too many members of Trump’s incoming administration, she’s a climate change skeptic. Looking at McMorris Rodgers’ voting record is a bit disturbing. The League of Conservation Voters gives her a lifetime environmental score of just 4%. Out of more than 250 votes on environmental bills, the group considers only 10 of her votes to be pro-environment. In the past, she’s voted to allow drilling in vulnerable parts of the Arctic. If she goes on to head the Department of the Interior , she would be in control of 500 million acres of public land, accounting for a massive 20% of the US landmass. The department manages energy development on federal lands, as well as our national parks , wildlife refuges, and outer continental shelf – all of which could be threatened by McMorris Rodgers’ pro-fossil-fuel agenda. Related: Donald Trump taps fossil fuel-funded climate denier to head EPA While the Trump administration has not yet revealed when her nomination will be announced, a member of the transition team has confirmed the President-elect’s choice to the media. House Republicans are reportedly already laying the groundwork to replace her as GOP Conference Chair. “Trump is throwing American leadership out the window–especially on climate change–by nominating U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to be Secretary of the Interior. She will open our public lands and natural resources to Big Oil and Big Coal, and put our parks, wilderness and endangered species at risk. We cannot allow that to happen. We will dig in and fight harder than ever to ensure that Trump and Rep. McMorris Rodgers cannot advance their dangerous policies—and we must start by demanding the Senate defeat this nomination,” says Tom Steyer, President of NextGen Climate . Via USA Today Images via Wikimedia Commons

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Trumps pick for Secretary of the Interior is an environmental disaster

Obama shuts the door on Arctic and Atlantic drilling for next five years

November 30, 2016 by  
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As Trump’s incoming administration makes its complete disinterest in protecting the environment clearer each day, it seems President Obama is doing all he can to enshrine whatever green policies he can during his final days in office. The current administration recently  announced a ban on new oil and gas drilling in parts of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans for the next five years — long enough to outlast Trump’s first (and hopefully last) presidential term. The Interior Department’s finalized oil and gas leasing plan for 2017-2022 was originally supposed to open up beaches from Virginia to North Carolina to new drilling, as well as the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic Ocean. However, after massive opposition from conservationists and businesses in the affected areas, the administration has cancelled most of the proposed leases. Unfortunately, offshore drilling is still allowed to move forward in 10 lease areas in the Gulf of Mexico, but this decision is far better than what was initially proposed. Since last spring, environmental groups have been gathering signatures from everyday American opposed to offshore drilling, presenting more than 2 million signatures to the President. In addition, more than 1,100 businesses along the Atlantic Ocean joined together to voice their opposition, including hundreds in heavily Republican states. Related: Abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking methane across the USA “This move locks the Gulf into another five years of corporate giveaways – with decades more of climate pollution, offshore oil spills, devastation to fisheries, and health impacts to local communities. A true transition from fossil fuels doesn’t allow for energy sacrifice zones, especially when we know the climate can’t handle further fossil fuel development. Along with the Arctic and the Atlantic, we need permanent protection for all our coasts to have a fighting chance at stabilizing the climate,” said Lindsey Allen, Executive Director of Rainforest Action Network While this new decision obviously puts some roadblocks in Donald Trump’s plans to expand US oil and gas production, it’s important not to grow complacent. It would take some years to undo the protections Obama has just granted the Arctic and Atlantic, but it is possible. In fact, prominent Republican lawmakers , including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has been quick to condemn the decision, vowing to overturn it. This is a major victory for environmentalists, but in many ways, it’s only the beginning.   Via Environment New York Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Obama shuts the door on Arctic and Atlantic drilling for next five years

Obama administration just protected the Arctic and Atlantic from drilling until 2022

November 18, 2016 by  
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With only two months left in office, President Obama’s administration just finalized its program for oil and gas leasing , and it will ensure protections for the Arctic and Atlantic oceans until 2022. In what is considered a major win for coastal regions and marine wildlife, these areas will not be subject to dangerous oil or gas drilling until climate change-denier and fossil fuel-guzzling proponent Donald Trump has completed his term in office – and perhaps even beyond. “Coastal businesses, fishermen, and marine life learned the lesson after the BP disaster that when you drill, you spill,” said Heather Leibowitz, the Director for Environment New York . “We are thrilled the Atlantic is protected for the next five years and adding protection for the Arctic makes the victory that much sweeter.” The road to such protections was a long one, beginning with the initial 2017 to 2022 Outer Continental Shelf leasing plan proposed in January of last year. This version of the plan left coastal regions from Virginia to North Carolina vulnerable, as well as the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic Ocean. Related: Obama to target Arctic and Atlantic oil drilling in fight against climate change The final plan cancelled leases for these areas for the next five years, yet left behind 10 leases in the Gulf of Mexico. According to a National Resources Defense Council survey , a majority of American oppose oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic. Leibowitz says more and more citizens are becoming aware of the dangers of offshore drilling, so there may still be hope for the Gulf’s future. She adds, “The only safe amount of drilling for our climate and communities is none at all – that is why President Obama should extend permanent protection for the Atlantic and Arctic oceans before leaving office.” Via  Environment New York Images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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Shell tells U.S. it’s ready to begin drilling 8,000 feet below Arctic seabed

August 11, 2015 by  
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Last month Royal Dutch Shell was given approval to drill at two sites in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea, but were informed by the Federal government that they lacked the appropriate equipment to ‘safely’ drill into oil-bearing rock some 8,000 feet below the ocean floor. But now, with a key safety vessel that would address well blow outs— a vessel that was previously blocked by protesters in Portland —in place, Shell has applied to amend their permits so as to commence drilling into the deeper, deepwater area. Read the rest of Shell tells U.S. it’s ready to begin drilling 8,000 feet below Arctic seabed

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Obama quietly approved arctic drilling, amid controversy and environmental concerns

April 10, 2015 by  
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On March 31,  President Barack Obama ‘s administration renewed the 2008 Arctic lease sale . That decision started a 30-day clock for the Interior Department to review Royal Dutch Shell’s drilling plans. The oil company has already invested nearly $6 billion exploring the arctic waters for possible drilling sites , and they have oil rigs headed toward Alaska at the time of this report, indicating the oil execs may be feeling pretty confident about getting the go-ahead to resume drilling this summer. Read the rest of Obama quietly approved arctic drilling, amid controversy and environmental concerns Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic Drilling , arctic offshore drilling , arctic oil drilling , environmental destruction , offshore oil drilling , oil drilling , president barack obama , Royal Dutch Shell

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Obama quietly approved arctic drilling, amid controversy and environmental concerns

LEGO Dumps Partnership with Shell Oil in Wake of Greenpeace Campaign

October 9, 2014 by  
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After 50 years, LEGO will finally end its co-marketing campaign with Shell Oil. The move comes in the wake of a viral video from Greenpeace which brought attention to a branding effort that seeks to sell big oil to small kids. The video, “Everything is NOT Awesome,” shows a pristine Arctic landscape made from 265lbs of LEGO being slowly submerged in oil, a reference to Shell’s continued efforts to begin drilling in the Arctic . Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of LEGO Dumps Partnership with Shell Oil in Wake of Greenpeace Campaign Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic Drilling , arctic oil , children’s toys , environmental destruction , Greenpeace , lego , lego environment , lego oil , oil branding , oil exploration , Royal Dutch Shell , shell oil

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Russia Threatens to Prosecute Greenpeace Activists for Piracy

September 25, 2013 by  
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An alarming message sent out last week by Greenpeace stated that at least 20 activists working to fight Arctic oil drilling were being held at gunpoint by armed Russian Coast Guard officials. The officials illegally boarded the Arctic Sunrise by helicopter, and proceeded to tow the Greenpeace vessel, and all those on board, to a small bay near Russia’s Arctic port of Murmansk. The international team of activists is now being questioned by Russia’s investigative agency, which has cautioned that they intend to prosecute the most “active” members of the environmental justice group for piracy. Read the rest of Russia Threatens to Prosecute Greenpeace Activists for Piracy Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: activism , activists , Arctic Drilling , arctic oil , arctic platform. , environmental justice , gazprom , Greenpeace , ice-resistant platform , Murmansk , piracy charges , Prirazlomnaya , russia , russian coast guard        

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Shell’s Damaged Oil Rig in Alaska Gets a Caravan Tow

January 8, 2013 by  
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Now afloat, Shell’s oil vessel that ran aground in Alaska on new year’s eve is being towed caravan style to a nearby island for inspection. Seattle’s tug Aiviq and seven other ships are towing the Kulluk 40 miles away to Kiliuda Bay, The Guardian reports, where the extent of damage will be assessed. Environmentalists warn that this latest failure is a harbinger of things to come should the oil giant persist with its plans to drill in the Arctic despite challenging physical and meteorological conditions and a sensitive ecosystem. Read the rest of Shell’s Damaged Oil Rig in Alaska Gets a Caravan Tow Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska , Arctic Drilling , arctic oil drilling , diesel , Environment , environmental destruction , kiliuda bay , MarineTraffic , News , nighttime tow , oil vessel ran aground , sensitive ecosystem , Shell

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Shell’s Damaged Oil Rig in Alaska Gets a Caravan Tow

Shell’s Damaged Oil Rig in Alaska Gets a Caravan Tow

January 8, 2013 by  
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Now afloat, Shell’s oil vessel that ran aground in Alaska on new year’s eve is being towed caravan style to a nearby island for inspection. Seattle’s tug Aiviq and seven other ships are towing the Kulluk 40 miles away to Kiliuda Bay, The Guardian reports, where the extent of damage will be assessed. Environmentalists warn that this latest failure is a harbinger of things to come should the oil giant persist with its plans to drill in the Arctic despite challenging physical and meteorological conditions and a sensitive ecosystem. Read the rest of Shell’s Damaged Oil Rig in Alaska Gets a Caravan Tow Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska , Arctic Drilling , arctic oil drilling , diesel , Environment , environmental destruction , kiliuda bay , MarineTraffic , News , nighttime tow , oil vessel ran aground , sensitive ecosystem , Shell

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