CREDO Action & Pamela King / E&E News & Ben Stewart / Greenpeace – 2018-05-17 01:23:11
ACTION ALERT: No Oil Drilling on the
Alaska National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain
The petition to the Department of the Interior reads:
“Do not allow drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain.”
When Big Oil is giving the orders, the Trump administration can move frighteningly fast. Immediately after a sneaky provision in the Trump Tax Scam opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, the Trump team has rushed to seal the deal.
Department of Interior officials have now officially announced their plans to start drilling in the refuge’s 1.6 million acre coastal plain. Drilling threatens the main calving ground for the Porcupine caribou herd and the cultural future of the indigenous Gwich’in people, whose way of life depends on the caribou. The Gwich’in consider the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge land sacred, and they have asked for all our support in protecting it.
To stand with the Gwich’in, we need to stop this climate, environmental and cultural catastrophe now, before it’s too late
The Alaskan coastal plain that is on Trump’s chopping block is one of the most biodiverse regions left in the United States. It is home to polar bears, caribou, moose and hundreds of species of migratory birds. The Gwich’in people live just outside the refuge and rely on subsistence hunting of migrating caribou.
An oil spill in the Arctic Refuge would be devastating. The remote Arctic has a small population, with few facilities available to address a cleanup. The harsh conditions and temperatures make responding to an oil spill exorbitantly difficult and expensive.
We do not know the full impact of a spill in the refuge — and that is exactly why oil companies and their friends in the Trump administration are moving so fast. They want to reap short-term profits before the public recognizes the long-term consequences for this irreplaceable region and the world’s climate.
Our friends at the Gwich’in Steering Committee and the Alaska Wilderness League are calling on us to join them in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from this Republican assault.
ACTION: Tell Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke: Do not allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain. Click the here to sign the petition
Thanks for fighting back,
Brandy Doyle, Campaign Manager, CREDO Action from Working Assets
Trump Administration Takes First Steps
Toward Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Refuge
Pamela King / E&E News
(April 19, 2018) — Department of Interior officials today mapped out their first steps toward allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.
The four-page notice of an environmental review, scheduled for publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register, sets the stage for oil and gas leasing within the 19-million-acre refuge.
Drilling would be limited to the 1.6-million-acre coastal plain. The region is believed to hold large oil and gas resources but also provides habitat for species like the polar bear and Porcupine caribou.
“Developing our resources on the coastal plain is an important facet for meeting our nation’s energy demands and achieving energy dominance,” said Interior’s assistant secretary for land and minerals management, Joe Balash. “This scoping process begins the first step in developing a responsible path forward. I look forward to personally visiting the communities most affected by this process and hearing their concerns.”
Under the terms of a landmark tax reform bill, which opened the door for drilling in ANWR, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must hold at least two lease sales before December 2024 (E&E Daily, Dec. 20, 2017). Those sales will occur in the areas of the refuge with the highest hydrocarbon potential, according to the notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS).
The move drew immediate reaction from both sides of the drilling debate.
“This is just the first step in a very long process that the Department of Interior will have to go through to fulfill their obligations as directed in the Tax Act,” said Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association in Anchorage.
She highlighted BLM’s commitment to meeting with interested groups across Alaska. BLM will hold five public scoping meetings in Anchorage, Arctic Village, Fairbanks, Kaktovik and Utqiagvik, the notice says.
“Leasing in ANWR will not happen overnight,” Moriarty said.
Opponents of the leasing strategy criticize the process as too rapid.
“The Trump administration’s reckless dash to expedite
drilling and destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
will only hasten a trip to the courthouse.”
— Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife
“The Department of the Interior is pursuing an irresponsibly aggressive timeline for Arctic Refuge drilling that reflects the Trump administration’s eagerness to turn over America’s public lands to private industry for development,” Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society in Washington, DC, said in a statement. “They are taking reckless shortcuts that are a terrible violation of public trust.”
Tomorrow’s notice sets in motion a 60-day comment period on BLM’s intention to prepare the review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt last year directed agency staff to limit NEPA reviews to one year and 150 pages (Greenwire, Sept. 6, 2017). It’s unclear whether those restrictions will apply to the ANWR analysis, but Bernhardt has publicly stated that he expects the EIS to be complete within a year. Balash has said Bernhardt’s projections are overly optimistic (Energywire, March 12).
“By putting the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the hands of former oil industry lobbyist David Bernhardt, Secretary Zinke has made clear that this rushed environmental review process will be nothing more than a kangaroo court,” Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, said in a statement.
Environmental groups told the Trump administration to brace for a legal battle.
“The Trump administration’s reckless dash to expedite drilling and destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will only hasten a trip to the courthouse,” Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “We will not stand by and watch them desecrate this fragile landscape.”
Lawmakers responded largely along party lines.
“We welcome this scoping announcement and the Department’s continued work to implement our legislation opening the Coastal Plain to responsible energy development,” Alaska’s congressional delegation, all Republicans, said in a joint statement. “We appreciate the Department following the law, planning multiple public meetings with Alaskans, and moving forward on this important program to help ensure the energy and economic security of our nation.”
House Natural Resources ranking member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and eight Democratic colleagues today sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke objecting to the “needless haste” toward leasing in ANWR.
“This administration’s naked greed and corporate favoritism have become an ongoing self-parody,” Grijalva said in a statement. “This is the kind of rushed policy that gets made during a backroom deal, not a careful assessment of public opinion and scientific data. President Trump and Secretary Zinke count drilling in the Arctic Refuge as a win because it upsets Americans they don’t like, not because it will have any public benefit.”
Reprinted from Greenwire. Copyright 2018.
E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net
10 Reasons Why Arctic Oil Drilling
Is a Really Bad, Stupid Idea
Ben Stewart / Greenpeace
(February 23, 2012) — An Arctic Ocean oil rush would be nothing short of disastrous for people, wildlife and the climate. Here are ten of the biggest reasons why.
1. It’s extremely dangerous.
The Arctic environment is one of the harshest in the world, and everything we do there is more complicated than anywhere else.
2. Our climate can’t afford it.
As the impacts of climate change become more visible and the danger becomes greater, drilling for and burning more fossil fuels is pretty much the last thing we should be doing, especially somewhere as fragile as the Arctic.
3. Relief wells are harder to drill.
In the case of a blowout, like happened with Deepwater Horizon, a relief well must be drilled, but the arrival of winter ice cuts the drilling season short. This means oil could be left gushing unstopped for up to two years.
4. Oil recovery is near impossible in ice.
Standard spill technology like booms become useless in thick ice. According to a senior official at a Canadian firm specializing in oil spill response, there is really no solution or method today that were aware of that can actually recover [spilt] oil from the Arctic.
5. There isn’t nearly enough oil spill response capacity.
The Arctic is remote it has a small population, and few facilities available. About 6,000 ships were used to skim oil in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Cairn Energy had a mere 14 ships available in the Baffin Bay in Greenland; Shell has named only nine in their oil spill response plan for the Chukchi Sea.
6. Nature is even less capable of
absorbing oil there than in lower latitudes.
Lack of sunlight in winter and cold weather means that oil will take more time to break down. Oil will stay locked under the sea ice. More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, oil can still be found in the environment of Prince William Sound.
7. The local wildlife is very vulnerable to oil.
Many bird species migrate to the Arctic in summer, as well as whales and seals. Polar bears and Arctic foxes, which rely heavily on marine and coastal resources to live, will be directly impacted by industrialization.
8. It’s hugely expensive.
Because of the extreme nature of operating on the frontiers of the world’s last great wilderness, looking for Arctic oil is incredibly expensive. In the last two years, Cairn Energy has spent more than $1 billion dollars to drill a handful of wells and still found no oil.
9. It’s only a three-year fix.
The US Geological Survey estimates the Arctic could hold up to 90 billion barrels of oil. This sounds a lot, but that would only satisfy three years of the worlds oil demand. These giant, rusting rigs with their inadequate oil spill response plans are risking the future of the Arctic for three years worth of oil. Surely its not worth taking such a risk?
10. We don’t really need to.
Automakers are perfectly capable of making only fuel-efficient vehicles. If companies like Volkswagen stopped blocking key efficiency laws, fuel-efficient vehicles would become the norm. This way, we would reduce our need for oil, help the planet, and save consumers some gas money.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.