Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Alaska’

Nowhere Else in the World

walrus_emailNowhere Else in the World

The Arctic Ocean is like nowhere else in the world. Home to walruses, beluga whales, and polar bears, this frozen landscape is teeming with life. But soon this fragile habitat could be swarming with oil rigs instead.

Oil companies may soon be able to start buying up new leases in the Chukchi Sea, the first step to oil drilling and, eventually, oil spills.

Act now to oppose new oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea »

The Pacific walrus dives deep down to the seafloor to hunt for shellfish. It needs a stable, healthy environment to survive. If an oil spill were to hit the Chukchi Sea, walruses could be forced to swim through oil. Even worse, the effects of a spill could kill food on which walruses, whales, and other animals depend, leaving these incredible animals hungry.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is preparing to sell oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea. Drilling in the Arctic is very risky due to icy waters, bad weather, and the complete lack of proven spill response technologies. Shell’s efforts to drill exploration wells have been met with failure after failure, culminating in the grounding of a drilling rig near Kodiak, Alaska. If oil drilling is allowed in the Chukchi Sea, it will only be a matter of time until a disaster strikes.

Walruses and whales need a safe home. Submit a public comment telling BOEM that oil drills don’t belong in the Chukchi Sea »

If enough of us speak up, we can convince BOEM to keep unsafe oil drills out of the U.S. Chukchi Sea entirely.

This important sea needs to be kept safe for the walruses, whales and polar bears who live, hunt, and migrate within its waters.

For the Arctic,
Rachael Prokop
Oceana

Oil & Wildlife Don’t Mix

Gabriel,

The Arctic fox is in a losing battle to survive in a warming climate. According to experts, their presence in the Arctic indicates a healthy arctic ecosystem. Unfortunately if Shell gets its way, this ecosystem — and the Arctic fox who call it home — will be forever changed.

Oil industry Giant Shell is halfway to the Arctic to begin exploratory drilling in a region that has gone largely untouched for many years. Exploratory drilling has a high probability of leakage and accidents, and in the remote Arctic there is little chance they could contain a spill.

Should a spill occur, the oil giant’s clean up ‘plan’ is, pun intended, a hollow shell.

We have a plan to stop them, but we’ll need your help. We’re halfway to our goal of raising $100,000 by midnight July 18th. Help support our campaign to save the Arctic and protect our planet by making an urgent gift right now.

What’s our plan? It’s simple. Greenpeace has already mobilized more than half a million people around the world to help save the Arctic.

Celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, Jude Law and Sir Paul McCartney and others have also added their names to our “Arctic Scroll” petition as a symbol of their determination to save the Arctic. Once we reach a million we’re going to take those names, put it on a flag with all the others and plant it at the bottom of the sea 4 km beneath the North Pole.

But that’s not all. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is on the way to the Arctic right now. We’ll be launching a scientific dive — the first of its kind — to find out what’s actually happening below the surface. We will also continue to expose Shell in the news and social media as well as educate the public about the Arctic.

And just two days ago, we joined with several of our colleagues to challenge filing suit to challenge Shell’s oil spill response plan. We’re in this for the long haul. We need your support.

The fact is Shell isn’t prepared for a disaster in the Arctic Ocean. No one is. With constant high seas, icebergs and massive waves, there’s no way to effectively clean up an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. Even the head of the US Coast Guard has publicly admitted that his agency would have little chance of dealing with a spill in the frozen Arctic on their own.

We can’t wait for this to happen. Make a gift right now to support our work in the Arctic. Just 375 more gifts from supporters in California to help make that happen.

This is one of the biggest campaigns we’ve ever undertaken. Shell has tried to bully Greenpeace and people like you to keep us quiet and silence our campaign. But we refuse to stand by while they and other oil industry giants destroy the Arctic and our planet.

Greenpeace doesn’t take a dime from corporations or governments. All we care about is doing what is necessary to save the Arctic. But our plans and the polar bears that call the Arctic home all depend on your support. We’re halfway there. Help support our long-term campaign by making a donation today.

Thanks for your support,

Dan Howells
Greenpeace Deputy Campaigns Director

We’ve Got It Covered

Shell Says It Can ‘Encounter’ 95 Percent of an Arctice Oil Spill, Not Collect it.
From Nation of Change
by Joe Smyth
2 July 2012

As Shell’s rigs head toward the Arctic to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil, the company took a small step this weekend in clarifying what would happen in an oil spill during the company’s planned Arctic drilling operations this summer.

Despite the oil industry’s spin, experts know it is impossible to recover more than a small fraction of a major marine oil spill, as retired Coast Guard Admiral Roger Rufe told NPR: “But once oil is in the water, it’s a mess. And we’ve never proven anywhere in the world — let alone in the ice — that we’re very good at picking up more than 3 or 5 or 10 percent of the oil once it’s in the water.”

So how is it possible, according to the New York Times, that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar “said he believed the company’s claims that it could collect at least 90 percent of any oil spilled in the event of a well blowout.” These sorts of claims have raised eyebrows among advocates and scientists who study offshore oil drilling — they aren’t just unbelievable, they’re laughably, outrageously impossible. NPR’s Richard Harris cuts through Shell’s spin, and explains what these numbers really mean:

“They have a miniscule number of boats compared to what was available in the Gulf of Mexico,” [Peter Van Tuyn, and environmental lawyer in Anchorage] says, and in the Gulf, “they didn’t have to deal with the extreme weather conditions that we’ve got in the Arctic.” High winds are the norm, and sea ice is always a possible hazard, “and yet they [Shell] claim they can collect as much as 95 percent.”

Merrell says the company has made no such claim. Instead, he says, the oil company’s plan is to confront 95 percent of the oil out in the open water, before it comes ashore. That doesn’t mean responders can collect what they encounter.

“Because the on-scene conditions can be so variable, it would be rather ridiculous of us to make any kind of performance guarantee,” Merrell says.

While discussing the same issue with the Associated Press, Shell PR folks take another word out for a spin, and even try to blame “opposition groups” for this confusion:

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said opposition groups are purposely mischaracterizing Shell’s oil spill response plan. The plan does not claim Shell can clean up 90 percent of an oil spill, he said.

“We say in our plan we expect to ‘encounter’ 90 percent of any discharge on site — very close to the drilling rig,” he said. “We expect to encounter 5 percent near-shore between the drilling rig and the coast. And we expect to encounter another 5 percent on shore. We never make claims about the percent we could actually recover, because conditions vary, of course.”

Where Shell plans to drill in the Arctic, those conditions include 20 foot swells, hurricane force winds, sea ice, and months of total darkness, and all without deep water ports or other infrastructure needed to mount a major oil spill response. But let’s put that aside for a moment, to make sure we’re not mischaracterizing here: Shell expects to “encounter” or “confront” 90% of the spilled oil and another 5% the company plans to — rendezvous? — with elsewhere in the ocean, while the remaining 5% Shell might — happen upon? — on shore. How much of that oil might be recovered, collected, or, you know, removed from the environment? Well, Shell says conditions vary, so making a performance guarantee would be rather ridiculous.

In the relatively calm conditions of the Gulf of Mexico, with thousands of response vessels, only a small fraction was recovered from the BP oil disaster. Despite shameful efforts to spin its announcement, a government report found that 4% of the oil was skimmed, and another 6% was burned. And as oil spill expert Rick Steiner observes, even those estimates might be too high, and burning oil isn’t really removing it from the environment: “It either went into the air as atmospheric emissions, and some of that is pretty toxic stuff, or there’s a residue from burning crude that sinks to the ocean floor, sometimes in big thick mats.”

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

Protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay

Go Fish, Go! Protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay
from National Parks Conservation Association.

In response to local concerns from Alaska Native Tribes and stakeholders, including NPCA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft watershed assessment in May 2012 that examines the extraordinary values of Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed and identifies a multitude of serious, potential impacts that could result from developing an industrial mining district right next to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

This report will guide EPA’s use of the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay’s clean waters and wild salmon from billions of tons of toxic mining waste. Learn More.

EPA should act now, and so should you! Send a letter thanking EPA for fighting to protect Bristol Bay.

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