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

United Kingdom joins Europe in banning bee-killing pesticides

November 10, 2017 by  
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The United Kingdom is joining Europe on a key environmental issue by supporting a total ban on neonicotinoids, pesticides that have decimated bee populations across the world. According to British environment secretary Michael Gove, the United Kingdom has reversed its previous opposition to such a ban after new research has shown that neonicotinoids cause significant damage to bee colonies. Gove was also moved to adopt this new policy position after reading reports of 75% declines in insect populations in Germany . “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood,” said Gove, according to The Guardian . “I believe this justifies further restrictions on their use. We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.” Although neonicotenoids are the world’s most used insecticide, their use on flowering crops was banned by the European Union in 2013. The United Kingdom nonetheless opposed the ban, though the times have changed. As the EU moves towards a total ban on neonictenoids outside of greenhouses, the United Kingdom’s change in its policy position adds momentum to the European reform effort. Related: “Bee-friendly” plants sold in the UK are coated in harmful pesticides “As is always the case, a deteriorating environment is ultimately bad economic news as well,” said Gove, citing figures that pollinators boost the profitability of UK crops by £400m-£680m each year. Gove also pointed out that, in the face of declining pollinator populations, British gala apple growers are forced to spend £5.7m per year to compensate for the loss of the natural ecological services provided by pollinators. Environmental and science groups are applauding Gove’s decision. “We warmly welcome the UK’s change of position,” said Matt Shardlow, of the insect conservation group Buglife, according to The Guardian . “Brexit will give the UK more control over the health of our ecosystems and it is essential in doing so that we apply the highest standards of care.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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United Kingdom joins Europe in banning bee-killing pesticides

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

Environmentalists Scale Europe’s Tallest Building to Protest Arctic Oil And Gas Drilling

July 12, 2013 by  
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Six protesters from Greenpeace have climbed the tallest building in Europe, London’s The Shard , as part of a campaign to highlight the dangers of drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic. The six female climbers starting climbing the Renzo Piano-designed, 72-storey, 1012 feet-tall building at 4.20am – and reached the top some 15 grueling hours later. Read the rest of Environmentalists Scale Europe’s Tallest Building to Protest Arctic Oil And Gas Drilling Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Arctic Drilling , arctic oil drilling , environmnental protests , gas , Greenpeace , London , oil , the shard        

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Environmentalists Scale Europe’s Tallest Building to Protest Arctic Oil And Gas Drilling

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

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