The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Activists Scale ExxonMobil Rig on 25th Anniversary of Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Today, on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, Greenpeace climbers scaled an ExxonMobil rig destined to drill in the Russian Arctic. The activists are calling for a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and for renewed efforts to fight climate change.
"We are here today, on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster, to protest against ExxonMobil's plans of drilling in the Arctic,” said Ethan Gilbert, a U.S. activist who lived in Alaska when the disaster happened in 1989. “I was a young child living in Alaska when the Exxon Valdez disaster happened and the effects there are still being felt on the people and the environment even today. In the Arctic the effects would be even worse. We are here on behalf of over 5 million people who have joined the movement to protect the Arctic from oil drilling.”
Fourteen activists from seven different countries took part in the protest in Norway, where five of them scaled the West Alpha oilrig and unfurled a banner saying: “No Exxon Valdez in Russian Arctic.”
ExxonMobil plans to drill in the most extreme and remote area of the Arctic this year,” said Erlend Tellnes, Arctic campaigner with Greenpeace Nordic. “This is madness—if something goes wrong, they will be all alone in the far north, with rescue equipment located thousands of kilometers away. We need to stop all oil companies before they cause the inevitable spill in the Arctic, where the harsh conditions would make it impossible to clean up. Look at Exxon Valdez. It is still affecting Alaskan nature 25 years after the accident."
ExxonMobil is the world's largest oil company and has a multi-billion dollar joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft to explore for oil in the Kara Sea, a project that will start this summer. The drilling block where Exxon will operate overlaps with the legally protected Russian Arctic National Park, an area renowned for its magnificent wildlife. The area is home to polar bears and bowhead whales and includes walrus rookeries and one of the largest bird colonies in the northern hemisphere. According to Russian law it is illegal to drill for oil in the area.
“We can't afford to risk an Exxon Valdez disaster in the Arctic, which would be impossible to clean up," said Tellnes. “It is time to go beyond oil. We know that we have to keep these fossil fuels in the ground if we want to prevent further climate changes.”
The Arctic is one of the most extreme and hostile environments to drill for oil on the planet. The ExxonMobil drill site is covered by thick sea ice for 270-300 days of the year, whilst temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celsious are not uncommon. The Kara Sea is often battered by fierce storms and during the long northern winter is plunged into months of almost total darkness.
Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Erica Cirino
Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.
By Jason Bittel
High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.
By Bob Curley
- The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
- Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
- The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.
McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.
By Andrea Germanos
Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.
By Tim Radford
The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began — leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.