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Posts tagged ‘oil spill’

The Clock Is Ticking

Dear Gabriel,

The EPA has yet to issue a decision on Shell’s last minute bait and switch on the air pollution rules it agreed to for its arctic drilling rigs.

But the clock is ticking. Final approvals must come by the 15th of August.

That means either the EPA will be pressured to cave before then and let Shell write its own rules, or — if we can create enough pressure for EPA to draw a line — we could stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic this summer.

Please make a call right now to urge EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to stand strong for the protection of our Arctic. Click here for a simple script and number to call.

Given the recent history of deepwater offshore drilling, and Shell’s track record so far — which includes losing control of one of its drilling rigs2 — the stakes for the pristine Arctic Ocean are all too real.

In a twist of irony, even as most of the country suffers from the hottest summer on record, Arctic sea ice has been slow to melt this year.3 The condition of the sea ice, combined with Shell’s repeated backtracking on its commitments, including on its oil spill response plan and with EPA and the Coast Guard, have prevented Shell’s final approval from moving forward.

If the Obama Administration approves drilling this summer, Shell will be especially rushed to drill before the sea ice forms again in October. But if the EPA draws the line now, we can protect the Arctic for at least one more year.

What happens in the next few days will shape EPA’s decision. Please make a call now.

Thank you for defending the Arctic.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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.

Turtles, Dolphins & Oil

Dear Gabriel

It can take a female loggerhead up to 30 years before ever laying one egg. And all it takes is one layer of oil to cause damage or death to the baby sea turtles inside.

Two years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill proved how disastrous drilling can be for wildlife. Now Congress is proposing to open even more areas to drill in the Gulf of Mexico – putting adult and baby loggerhead sea turtles at risk. Will you help us keep them safe?

Help us protect Florida’s animals from the threat of oil spills – just $10 will make a difference!

Loggerhead turtles are already threatened with extinction, and their numbers continue to fall as their habitats are destroyed. Eighty percent of loggerheads in the U.S. call Florida their home – so damage to their nesting beaches could be catastrophic to the species’ survival. But in the past several months, members from both chambers of Congress have pushed for legislation to open up the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to drilling – an area that has been historically off limits.

We are pushing back, and have organizers on the ground in Florida to show Congress how strong our movement is. So far we have been successful, but the threats to Florida’s wildlife keep coming, and we need your help.

Your support helps keep Florida’s nesting grounds clean and safe. Give $10 or more by April 30 and help protect sea turtles and other wildlife from danger»

All it takes is one spill like the Deepwater Horizon accident to put turtles, dolphins, and manatees at devastating risk. It’s just not worth it.

It’s up to us to prevent needless deaths. You and I are the oceans’ protectors, and with our combined efforts, we can keep Florida’s waters safe from oil drilling.

For the oceans,
Emily Fisher
Oceana

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