Clean Air under Attack in Arctic
Susan Murray, Oceana’s Pacific senior director, issued the following statement as Oceana joined a petition of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 for the recall of air permits for Shell’s Discoverer drillship. The Discoverer drillship, along with the Kulluk drillship that received a permit Oct. 21, are scheduled to head to the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas for ocean offshore oil drilling in the summer of 2012. The permit would allow Shell’s fleet to emit significant amounts of air pollutants that are harmful to human health and the environment:
“Oceana is disheartened at the EPA’s blatant disregard of their mission to protect human health and the environment. Oceana along with other groups request the Environmental Appeals Board revoke and review the air permits.
“The decisions the EPA are making open the floodgates for increased air pollution in the Arctic. Allowing relaxed emission levels for drilling operations is a horrible precedent that will ultimately pollute the crisp Arctic airshed.
“The Clean Air Act was designed not only to clean up dirty air, but also to prevent clean air from becoming polluted. This bad permit simply does not require Shell to comply with limits designed to keep air clean.
“America needs to do what is best for the Arctic ecosystem and not what is best for an oil company’s bottom line. The vibrancy and biodiversity of Arctic communities and ecosystems depend on how we manage development. Oceana will continue to work towards ensuring that development will not harm ecosystem health, including subsistence.”
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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