The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
The House of Representatives voted on Feb. 16 to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and along almost every acre of our coastline including off the East Coast, West Coast, the protected eastern Gulf of Mexico and Alaska's Bristol Bay to oil drilling all under the guise of funding this year's transportation bill.
The funding issue is a scam. Even the most generous revenue estimates from this reckless expansion of drilling will not be enough to fund proposed transportation projects in the bill. In addition, what small amounts of revenue might be generated from oil and gas leasing in the Arctic refuge would not be seen for ten years as oil companies will still need to explore, apply for drilling permits and start development. In short, H.R. 3408 is a fiscal gimmick that relies on unknown future revenues that are speculative at best to pay for transportation projects today.
Upon passage of the bill, Defenders' president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark, said, “Today, the House approved the most radical drilling-bill we have seen in recent memory. This fiscal boondoggle would industrialize the pristine coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to iconic wildlife like polar bears and the Porcupine Caribou herd, exposing thousands of miles of coastline to chronic pollution from offshore drilling and potential oil disasters like the Deepwater Horizon.
The Arctic refuge is the largest onshore denning area for America's polar bears.
The vote comes only one day after an exploratory well exploded on Alaska's North Slope, spewing drilling mud, leaking natural gas and requiring the intervention of a company specializing in blowout control.
“Yesterday's exploratory well explosion on Alaska's North Slope demonstrates once again that drilling is a dangerous business. We can't afford to take those risks with some of our most pristine and fragile places, some of which may never recover should a drilling accident occur. The Senate should reject this funding scam and look for realistic ways to meet our transportation needs without sacrificing the health of our environment."
For more information, click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.