With no industrial activity in those waters for more than half a century, the bowhead population slowly began to recover. The nearest Coast Guard station is more than 1, miles away.
The oil harvested from Arctic whales helped fuel the economies of countries in Europe and North America and drove the magnificent bowhead whale to near extinction.
Because of the damage to its rigs, Shell was forced to give up its drilling plans. Following the Ukraine crisis and American sanctions on Russia, ExxonMobil was prohibited from working with the oil company Rosneft on a joint plan to drill in the Kara Sea in the Russian Arctic.
Sea ice along the Beaufort Sea coast, July Just over two weeks later, however, the administration also issued the final supplemental environmental impact statement for Chukchi Lease Salewhich includes blocks of Arctic waters adjacent to and upstream from Hanna Shoal.
Onshore, walruses are far from their food sources and young walruses are particularly susceptible to being trampled to death by the adults in the colony.
Who Owns the Arctic Ocean? As part of an ongoing competition among the major oil companies, Shell is clearly trying to establish itself as quickly as possible as the dominant player in Arctic offshore drilling, just as BP did in the Gulf of Mexico -- with results that we remember well from the Deepwater Horizon blowout of Now for that oil.
As a recent U. The Interior Department had by then taken less than two months, including the Christmas holiday To dril or not to drill, to consider the more thanpublic comments it had received. Arctic offshore oil and gas exploration only started when George W. That it will happen sooner or later is a given should the company proceed.
Even had those sanctions not been in place, the low price of oil would have made such exploration a far less appetizing prospect for the moment. Resistance at the Tipping Point. Some things can be counted on like the sun setting in the West.
The first benchmark study of the Hanna Shoal, one of the most biologically productive spots in the Chukchi Sea, only began in early August The half-century of commercial calm in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas ended, however, in the late s, when oil exploration began. In the extreme environment of the Arctic seas, a devastating oil spill is one of them if exploration is allowed to continue.
For more than four centuries, western nations have regarded the Arctic Ocean as an economic treasure chest. To let Shell drill in the Chukchi Sea when the price of oil is low and its profits slumping would be a rash act indeed, given that a company under pressure elsewhere has a tendency to cut costs and compromise safety.
As it turned out, the plaintiffs won twice, first in the U. This, too, has long been the case. Since then, the price of oil has plunged, sending a shock wave across the oil industry and deep-sixing all sorts of prospective plans planet-wide to drill in Arctic waters: Shell has already set a precedent.
Commercial whaling in the region, which started inended by aboutwhen petroleum supplanted whale oil as the fuel of choice. The problem, however, is that the major oil company Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer and that could, in the long term, spell doom for one of the last great, relatively untouched oceanic environments on the planet.
The magnificent and complex ecology of the northern seas is now being altered by three human-caused phenomena: The second wave of U. The first is an oil-company-inculcated urge to transform the decision to drill into a sense of inevitability and the second is an oil-company-sponsored urge to rush the process.
Prayer after a whale hunt. Arctic waters, including Hanna Shoal, from future oil and gas lease sales. Knowing that, and knowing as well that there is no proven technology for cleaning up a major oil spill in the ice-choked, forbidding, mostly dark environment of the Arctic seas, Shell is nonetheless back again.
The persistence of this resistance to drilling, along with the recent price collapse, has marked the second boom-and-bust cycle in Arctic exploration.
If it decides to let Shell proceed, how will it present itself to the rest of the Arctic nation states, the indigenous Arctic nations and organizations, and the rest of us? While there have only been sporadic studies of the marine environments in question since then, no comprehensive benchmark study for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas has ever been done; nor is there any thorough understanding of how the marine food web works in those seas, or of the population sizes and distribution of any but the sentinel species whales, polar bears, walruses, and seals.
Any spill that occurs late in the brief potential drilling season would remain untouched and unattended to until the ice melted the following summer.
But even if such a blowout occurred in summer, there is no infrastructure in place to respond to a disaster. With a clean ocean we have our traditions and culture, and our life, health, and safety. In late September, as summer gives way to autumn, ice begins to form in the seas and darkness descends.
The French company Total, for instance, simply walked away from the U.America Must Drill for Oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a very controversial topic.
On one end you have the people who want to drill for oil to help out our economy, and on the other end there are the environmentalists and the Alaskan natives who do not want their land destroyed. BetterLesson's unique formula allows us to bring you high-quality coaching, a professional learning lab, and a learn-by-doing process that embeds PD into the classroom.
The problem, however, is that the major oil company Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer and that could, in the long term, spell doom for one of the last great, relatively untouched oceanic environments on the planet.
To Drill or Not to Drill Let the Environmentalists Decide —————— —————— DWIGHT R. LEE H igh prices of gasoline and heating oil have made drilling for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) an important issue.
ANWR is the largest of Alaska’s sixteen national wildlife refuges, containing million acres. Subsequent tickets are not free. Free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and it is currently limited to tickets.
To receive free tickets, click on “get a ticket,” and then enter the promotional code CIVILITY. drilling national parks Angela Minor As a lifelong vagabond, she has lived, traveled, and birded across the continental U.S., Alaska, the Caribbean, and seven European countries over the past three decades.Download