Posted on December 27, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A bearded seal pup on the Arctic ice. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Obama administration under political pressure to permit new drilling in fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem; public comment taken through Feb. 13
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal officials say plans to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska will cause only “minor to moderate” impacts to rare bowhead and beluga whales — despite the potential for another spill on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and no good way to clean it up.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a draft environmental impact statement on the drilling plan just before Christmas, outlining the potential impacts, as well as mitigation measures that could be implemented to minimize effects on the marine environment. The draft EIS is open for public comment through Feb. 13. All the documents for the project are online here. (more…)
Filed under: endangered species, energy, Environment, federal government, Marine biology, oil drilling, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic oil drilling, Beluga whales, bowhead whales, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Chukchi Sea, Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Marine Mammal Protection Act, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 1, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Oil company execs sit through 15-minute session staged by Greenpeace activists
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — European Greenpeace activists arranged a classic action in Denmark this week, when they staged an informational session about oil drilling off the shore of northeast Greenland.
Working in Copenhagen during a meeting called by the Greenland Bureau of Mineral and Petroleum, the group set up its own presentation, then told oil company executives that the venue for the official meeting had been changed. Click here to read the Greenpeace blog post on the meeting.
The anti-drilling advocates then led the representatives from Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Statoil and NunaOil into the alternate room. Along with coffee and cake, the activists then gave a 15-minute presentation on the potential financial pitfalls and the environmental risks of drilling in an as-yet untouched area along the northeast coast of Greenland. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, oil drilling, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic oil drilling, Environment, Greenland oil drilling, Greenpeace | 3 Comments »
Posted on October 1, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Native Alaskans, conservation groups go to court to block federal approval for Beaufort Sea oil exploration and development
Sunset over the Beaufort Sea. PHOTO COURTESY USGS.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Alaska natives, along with state and national environmental groups, said Friday they have filed a lawsuit in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to block new offshore oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea, off the north coast of Alaska.
After a short delay following last summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, federal regulators approved plans by Shell to start Arctic drilling as soon as 2012 — despite the fact that there is no good disaster response or cleanup plan in place. Several federal reports have also pointed out that there are big gaps in the environmental data needed to make an accurate assessment of potential impacts.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement released an environmental assessment for the Beaufort Sea plan Aug. 4, concluding with a finding of no significant impact. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, federal government, oil drilling, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic oil drilling, Arctic oil drilling lawsuit, Beaufort Sea, BOEMRE, Earthjustice, energy, Environment, Shell Oil arctic drilling | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 7, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Shell gets the OK for exploratory oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea.
BOEMRE gives conditional OK to Beaufort Sea exploration; Shell still needs approval from EPA and other federal agencies
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A conditional federal green light for offshore drilling in the Arctic drew immediate fire from environmental groups, who claim the approval ignores the lessons of last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and risks irreversible damage to sensitive marine resources in the region.
Shell Oil must still gain approval from other federal agencies, including the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and must meet a very specific set of conditions, relating to safety, monitoring, reporting and wildlife issues before any drilling takes place. The conditions are outlined in this letter from BOEMRE to Shell.
The approval came after completion of a site-specific environmental assessment which resulted in a formal finding of no significant impact. All the documents are online at this BOEMRE website.
“We base our decisions regarding energy exploration and development in the Arctic on the best scientific information available,” said BOEMRE director Michael R. Bromwich. “We will closely review and monitor Shell’s proposed activities to ensure that any activities that take place under this plan will be conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.” (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, federal government, public lands, Summit County news | Tagged: Arctic oil drilling, Beaufort Sea, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, Deepwater horizon oil spill, energy, Environment, offshore drilling, Shell Beaufort sea oil drilling, Summit County News | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 30, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A polar bear roams a coastal strand. PHOTO BY SUSANNE MILLER, USFWS.
Battle over Alaska offshore oil drilling heats up
By Bob Berwyn
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SUMMIT COUNTY — Last summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico clearly showed the conflict between science, energy policy and politics, and the looming battle over drilling in Arctic waters will be no different, as a watchdog group claims that federal scientists are being muzzled and harassed over their efforts to disclose potential impacts of energy development in the fragile Arctic marine environment.
Dr. Charles Monnet, a senior federal scientist working the Arctic has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated by the Interior Department’s Inspector General. Such inspections are not uncommon, but what’s unusual in this case is that the researcher says he has no idea what the investigators are looking for.
But a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog and whistle-blower protection group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, says the investigation is designed to interfere with scientific research that points out the dangers of Arctic drilling. In a scientific misconduct complaint filed last week, the group charged that Monnet is “being hounded in a political attempt to impugn his observations on polar bears’ vulnerability to retreating sea ice.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, endangered species, energy, Environment, gas drilling, global warming, oil drilling, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Alaska, Arctic, Arctic oil drilling, BOEMRE, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, Charles Monnet, Environment, Polar bear, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Summit County News, United States Department of the Interior | 86 Comments »