Often as an environmental campaigner, I find myself thinking the planet would be in much better shape if more thought was given, and caution taken, before industries are given free rein to exploit its precious natural resources. Not to mention the time, energy and money that would be saved in mopping up the mess of a particular environmental problem. As the age old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
This same logic applies to the Arctic – surely it is better to stop oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean now before there is a catastrophic spill. Experience tells us that inevitably there will be a spill, which will be impossible to clean up in such harsh conditions. Similarly, it is far better to draw a line now and stop the northwards charge of large-scale industrial fishing vessels that are taking advantage of the melting sea ice than to do nothing and find out in a few years’ time that the fish are all gone and that fragile marine habitats have been destroyed. Continue reading →
Shell's drill ship the Kulluk is towed out of the Arctic after the oil company canceled its 2013 drilling plans
The end of 2012 and first months of 2013 have seen a remarkable change in the fight to protect the Arctic from risky and dangerous oil exploration. Three oil “majors” – Total, Statoil and Conoco-Phillips - have withdrawn from drilling projects in the far North. Shell of course has also famously “paused” its drilling in the Chukchi in the Alaskan Arctic after a series of “costly and embarrassing accidents”, though thankfully at least without a major oil spill or loss of life. This “pause” though allegedly voluntary, would surely have been imposed upon the subsequent publication of the US Department of the Interior assessment of Shell’s 2012 Arctic operations – published just days later, which highlighted inadequate performance in 5 of 7 key areas identified by Interior Department as essential for “safe and responsible” offshore drilling. Greenpeace argues, not unexpectedly and for a variety of reasons, that no drilling in the Arctic can be safe and responsible. But for the US Department of the Interior to label one of the most risk averse of the oil majors “inadequate” is worth noting. Continue reading →
More than a week after the Exxon oil pipeline spill in Arkansas, residents of Mayflower Arkansas report crude oil polluting surrounding wetlands. Local law enforcement seems to be working with Exxon establishing no-fly zones and making it difficult to document the spill and cleanup process.
As many people who watch the oil industry know, oil spills are not avoidable, preventable, or unlikely. From extraction to combustion oil is a destructive and dirty business, based on sacrificing the health of environments and peoples for corporate profits.
Rarely do we meet those who have made careers selling us lies. Consider the oddball doctors who took tobacco money to deny a link between cigarette smoking and cancer, or the handful of scientists who take oil and coal money to discredit global warming science, or the people who have done both.
Willie Soon in a heated moment. Madison, WI (click to watch)
Last week, students in Wisconsin and Michigan stepped up to such an opportunity when CFACT Campus, the student arm of a well-known cabal of fossil fuel apologists, hosted climate change denier Willie Soon at several campus events around the country. Continue reading →
Oil seeps into a marshy waterway after Exxon's Arkansas pipeline spill
Sure seems like it. According to reports from the ground, Exxon is in full control of the response to the 12,000 barrels of tar sands oil that began spilling from Exxon’s ruptured pipeline in Arkansas last weekend. The skies above the spill has been deemed a no-fly zone, and all requests to fly low over the area to take pictures must be approved by Exxon’s own “aviation advisor” Tom Suhrhoff. Continue reading →
Exxon's oil pipeline leaked 12,000 barrels of oil and water in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29 causing 22 homes to evacuate.
At least 22 Arkansas families can now tell you that oil pipelines leak. Unfortunately for those families, thousands of barrels of crude, black oil from an Exxon pipeline leaked all over their neighborhood. The only good thing that could happen as a result of the latest disaster in the oil industry is a clean “No” to two major oil projects the United States is considering- the Keystone pipeline and Arctic drilling.
In just over two weeks I will be standing on the frozen Arctic ocean, preparing to ski to the North Pole. I’ll be wearing four layers of fleece and a special hat that someone knitted for me. In my pockets I’ll carry some almond chocolate, an iPod, and a declaration of hope for future generations. Continue reading →