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Trump Green Lights Arctic Drilling Project in Polar Bear Habitat
The Trump administration released an environmental review Thursday of Hilcorp Alaska's Arctic offshore drilling development. Hilcorp plans to build a 9-acre artificial island and 5.6-mile pipeline in the Beaufort Sea for its offshore drilling project. The Trump administration's draft environmental impact statement proposes to greenlight the dangerous drilling plan, which would be a first for federal waters in the Arctic.
Previous Arctic project studies have warned that offshore drilling in those remote, treacherous waters carries a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill. Concerns about the Liberty project were heightened this year when Hilcorp struggled for months to fix leaks in its underwater pipelines in Cook Inlet and meet basic regulatory requirements.
"Arctic offshore drilling can't be done safely, particularly by this company. The icy, stormy waters make Arctic drilling inherently hazardous, and Hilcorp has a history of spills and regulatory violations," said Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Polar bears, bowhead whales and other imperiled Arctic species will be in terrible danger if the Trump administration allows this reckless project to move forward."
Dipika Kadaba / Center for Biological Diversity
Hilcorp's Liberty project is poised to be the first oil development project in federal Arctic waters. It was originally proposed by oil giant BP, but it is now being pursued as part of the Texas-based company's rapid expansion of its fossil fuel holdings in Alaska, including leasing 14 new federal offshore tracts in Cook Inlet for more than $3 million this summer.
In recent years federal regulators have warned the company to improve maintenance of its gas pipelines, and Alaska's state regulators have fined Hilcorp more than any other company and said "disregard for regulatory compliance is endemic to Hilcorp's approach to its Alaska operations." The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has repeatedly cited Hilcorp for violating safety regulations for its oil and gas operations in the state.
"Nobody needs Arctic oil. Most of the world understands that, but Trump and Hilcorp just don't get it," Monsell said. "The Arctic has largely been off limits to dangerous oil drilling, and it has to stay that way."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
Pediatricians are being urged to start writing "exercise prescriptions" for the children they see in their office.
An indigenous rail blockade that snarled train travel in Canada for more than two weeks came to an end Monday when police moved in to clear protesters acting in solidarity with another indigenous community in British Columbia (B.C.), which is fighting to keep a natural gas pipeline off its land.
A Florida hiker recently stumbled across a slithering surprise — a rare snake that hadn't been spotted in the area for more than 50 years.
By Genna Reed
The EPA announced last week that it is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment to set an enforceable drinking water standard to two of the most common and well-studied PFAS, PFOA and PFOS.
This decision is based on three criteria:
- PFOA and PFOS have an adverse effect on public health
- PFOA and PFOS occur in drinking water often enough and at levels of public health concern;
- regulation of PFOA and PFOS is a meaningful opportunity for reducing the health risk to those served by public water systems.