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Thu, 2013-01-03 13:21Farron Cousins
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Shell’s Kulluk Rig Grounding Proves Folly of Arctic Oil Drilling, Again

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell spent a good portion of 2012 defending allegations that the company wasn’t “arctic ready.”  The disaster that occurred with their offshore drilling rig Kulluk on New Year’s Eve only served to prove that the company is not to be trusted.

Tug crews towing the floating Kulluk rig in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska lost connection with the vessel during a storm on December 31. Kulluk subsequently washed ashore with the waves. The U.S. Coast Guard says that the Shell vessel currently does not appear to be leaking, but it is estimated to have about 150,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard.

In response to Shell’s failures to safely operate this vessel, as well as their countless failures in recent history, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement

In just one year, Shell has proven over and over again that they are completely incapable of safely drilling in the Arctic. Their ships have caught fire and lost control, they’ve damaged their own spill containment equipment, and they’ve been caught entirely unprepared for the challenges of the Arctic…This is the last straw.  We should judge Shell not by their assurances or their PR tactics, but by their record – and Shell’s record clearly demonstrates that letting them operate in the Arctic is an invitation for disaster.

The Sierra Club is calling on the Obama administration to immediately revoke Shell’s Arctic drilling permits. NRDC, the Wilderness Society and other groups are expected to issue similar requests this week. 

Wed, 2012-12-19 10:16Farron Cousins
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Group Sues Obama Administration Over Offshore Oil And Gas Leasing Program

A lawsuit has been filed against the Obama administration over the economic claims that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) made in their 5-year plan to open up new areas around the United States to offshore oil and gas leasing.  The suit, filed by the Center for Sustainable Economy (CSE), says that the administration not only grossly exaggerated the economic benefits of increased energy exploration, but also that they failed to take all costs into account.

BOEM’s plan would lease a total of 15 new areas for exploration, including areas within the Gulf of Mexico, the Cook Inlet, Alaskan waters, and the Beaufort Sea.  But rather than focusing strictly on the environmental impact of the projects, CSE took an approach that tends to have better results in Washington – Economics.

The economic argument is very powerful, as CSE explains that the increased oil and gas exploration will cost the United States more than it will gain.  And according to federal laws (specifically Section 18 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act), in order to grant permission for projects such as the leasing program, there must be a net public gain. 

For example, the best estimates for the amount of money to be made from oil and gas in these areas ranges from $1 to $2 billion per year.  However, these areas currently provide an economic boost of as much as $70 billion a year from fishing, tourism, and other activities, all of which could be decimated in the event of an oil spill.

Wed, 2012-04-25 13:58Steve Horn
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2008 Shell Nigeria Oil Spill 60 Times Larger Than Originally Claimed

Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) dropped a bombshell early this week, unveiling documents pertaining to the Royal Dutch Shell Oil 2008 Bodo oil pipeline spill.

The documents indicate that the Shell spill released 60 times the amount of oil Shell had originally reported in the ravaged Niger Delta coastal town with a population of 60,000 people.

In a press release, Amnesty explained its findings:

The previously unpublished assessment, carried out by US firm Accufacts, found that between 1,440 and 4,320 barrels of oil were flooding the Bodo area each day following the leak. The Nigerian regulators have confirmed that the spill lasted for 72 days.

Shell’s official investigation report claims only 1,640 barrels of oil were spilt in total. But based on the independent assessment the total amount of oil spilt over the 72 day period is between 103,000 barrels and 311,000 barrels.

Adding insult to injury, Shell has yet to begin to clean up what it has destroyed. “More than three years after the Bodo oil spill, Shell has yet to conduct a proper clean up or to pay any official compensation to the affected communities,” wrote Amnesty.

Fri, 2011-10-07 08:54Steve Horn
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In Throes of Keystone XL Controversy, Obama Admin OKs Alaska Offshore Drilling

With all eyes on the ongoing battle over whether or not the Obama Administration and the State Department will approve the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline, it was easy to lose another huge piece of news in the scuffle pertaining to the Obama White House. 

On October 3, the Obama Interior Department rubber stamped approval for offshore drilling in the Arctic off the northwest coast of Alaska in the Chibucki Sea. Reported the ​Wall Street Journal:

The Obama administration said Monday it was moving forward with oil-drilling leases off the coast of Alaska issued by the Bush administration in 2008, a victory for oil companies in the battle over Arctic Ocean drilling.

(Snip)

The Interior Department's decision is the latest example of the Obama administration siding with energy companies against environmentalists amid a weak economy. Last month, President Barack Obama withdrew proposed ozone-emission rules that businesses said would have killed jobs.

According to an Alaska Dispatch​ story, the area that received drilling approval is 2.8 million acres and companies bid $2.6 billion in an auction for drilling rights, with fossil fuel conglomerates Shell and ConocoPhillips leading the way. The Associated Press​ (AP) wrote, “Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc…spent $2.1 billion for the leases in 2008.” 

Tue, 2008-09-30 21:53Page van der Linden
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Sarah Palin puts polar bears on thin ice

In May 2008, the polar bear was listed by the US government as a threatened species, and Alaska's government responded by filing a legal challenge. Alaskan politicians also scrambled to fund “research” proving that the bears are - you guessed it - not in any trouble at all. Of course, one of the first “scientists” they called is yet another global warming denier.

It turns out that Sarah Palin has played a starring role in the science fiction drama. The UK Guardian breaks the news.

Wed, 2008-05-14 12:01Emily Murgatroyd
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Polar Bear Listed as a "Threatened Species" by the US Department of the Interior

The US Department of the Interior has just announced that is has listed the Polar Bear as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Here's a copy of the news release, analysis to follow shortly on what this means for oil exploration in Alaska:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Mon, 2008-05-12 15:51Page van der Linden
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Enter the Inhofian Polar Bear Expert

What a coincidence.

Just as the Alaska State Legislature allocates $2 million for a conference promoting climate change deniers' “expert” analysis of why polar bears aren't really endangered, a poster boy for polar bear junk science emerges from the woodwork. Enter J. Scott Armstrong , who is a marketing professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

His research emphasizes forecasting methods, which he has used as the cornerstone for - you guessed it - claims that the IPCC climate change projections are actually all wrong.

 

 

Thu, 2007-06-28 09:02Bill Miller
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Global warming is costly, devastating to infrastructure in Alaska

A new study has found that many of Alaska’s roads, runways, railroads and water and sewer systems will wear out more quickly and cost more to fix because of climate change. From now to 2030, rising temperatures, melting permafrost, reduction of polar ice and increased flooding are expected to boost repair and replacement costs by 20 per cent to as much as $6.1 billion US.

Sun, 2007-05-27 12:54Bill Miller
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Remote Alaskan villages struggle with consequences of climate change

In Alaska and northern Canada, the once-permanently frozen subsoil known as permafrost, which many native settlements rest upon, is now melting due to warming air and ocean temperatures. And sea ice that would normally protect coastal villages is forming later in the year, allowing fall storms to erode the shoreline.

Wed, 2007-05-23 09:55Bill Miller
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Rapid climate change threatens world’s largest creatures

A new report entitled “Whales in hot water?” says whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) face increasing threats from global warming as rising sea temperatures destroy polar habitats and undermine their food sources.

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