The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
The Obama administration has proposed an offshore oil drilling plan for the next five years that would allow drilling in the pristine Arctic Ocean and more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico before adequate safety standards are in effect.
You'd hope that after the floating oil rig that capsized and sank in the Sea of Okhotsk near Russia on Dec. 18, killing 53 crew members, plans to drill in the pristine waters of the Arctic would be put on hold. Russian oil companies that are rushing to this environmentally sensitive region have been warned by environmentalists and industry experts that the harsh conditions are unfit for oil drilling and too remote for rescue crews to quickly reach the area in case of an accident, including oil spills.
The Obama administration should be protecting the fragile Arctic from extremely risky offshore oil and gas activities, not encouraging it. Extreme methods of fossil fuel extraction have wreaked havoc on communities, human health and the environment. Just look at the impacts that mountaintop removal has had on the Appalachian region in the U.S. or tar sands extraction has had on the Indigenous Nations in Canada.
Think of how difficult it was to contain and clean up the 2010 BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. We are still dealing with the tragic aftermath of that disaster as revealed in the documentary The Big Fix. Now, imagine trying to contain and clean up a spill in the Arctic, with pervasive sea ice, 20-foot swells, hurricane-force winds, darkness and the nearest Coast Guard station more than 1,000 miles away. There is simply no proven way to contain and clean up an oil spill in these extreme conditions.
Obama's offshore oil plan will also increase drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. This region is still suffering extensive economic and environmental damage from the spill. No plans should be put into place for drilling in this region until the government and industry have fully implemented the recommendations of the bipartisan National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Instead of relying on environmentally risky drilling, we need investments in clean, renewable energy that reduce our dependence on oil, protect human health and the environment, and create millions of new jobs.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management is accepting comments on this plan through Feb. 8. Take action today by sending an email to the Obama administration or submitting a public comment to the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management. Ask the Obama administration to keep the pristine waters of the Arctic off limits to drilling and not to increase drilling in the Gulf of Mexico until vital safety and environmental reforms are adopted.
Stay tuned to EcoWatch.org for further developments on this issue.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
That salmon sitting in your neighborhood grocery store's fish counter won't look the same to you after watching Artifishal, a new film from Patagonia.
Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.
The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.
By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia
In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."
Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.