29 September 2011 BREAKING: No Spill Plan? No Problem. Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 1 comment | Share: The Arctic's Beaufort Sea, courtesy NOAA A coalition of Alaska Native and conservation groups today challenged the Obama administration’s decision to allow offshore oil drilling by Shell Oil in the Beaufort Sea in America’s Arctic Ocean. After the devastating Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration wisely delayed plans by Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic Ocean. But this August, the administration reversed course and approved the first part of the most aggressive Arctic drilling proposal in the history of the country by approving Shell’s plans to start drilling in the Beaufort Sea as early as the summer of 2012. A spill in the Arctic Ocean would devastate polar bears, bowhead whales and other marine mammals and would severely affect Native subsistence communities which have thrived in this region for generations. The most recent oil spill drill in the Beaufort Sea (which took place more than 10 years ago) described mechanical cleanup in icy conditions as a “failure.” Nothing has changed since that drill. A recent report to the Canadian government concluded cleanup would be impossible 44 to 84 percent of the time during the short summer drilling season and completely impossible the other seven to eight months of the year. “Pretending there’s no risk associated with drilling, especially in the fragile waters of the Arctic, is not only irresponsible, it’s unacceptable.” U.S. Coast Guard officials have repeatedly explained that the resources to clean up an oil spill in the waters of the Arctic Ocean simply don’t exist. This summer, Commandant Admiral Robert Papp told Congress that the federal government has “zero” spill response capability in the Arctic. Science has shown the Beaufort Sea to be essential habitat for endangered bowhead whales. Photo courtesy NOAA Defenders’ Sierra Weaver said, “Both Shell and the federal government are proceeding as if the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster – the worst environmental catastrophe this country has ever seen – simply didn’t happen. Pretending there’s no risk associated with drilling, especially in the fragile waters of the Arctic, is not only irresponsible, it’s unacceptable.” Defenders is among a broad coalition of Alaska Native and conservation groups represented by Earthjustice who are challenging the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement’s (BOEMRE) decision to allow oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea. Click here to read the full press release and see what other groups are saying about this risky and shortsighted move. Learn more: See how offshore drilling threatens the Arctic’s fragile marine environment. Read more about Shell’s inadequate oil spill response plan and the threat it poses to bowhead whales and polar bears. One Response to “BREAKING: No Spill Plan? No Problem.” kathy October 21st, 2011 Shell was just announced as partnering in the X Prize Foundation. It’s an opportunity to let smart folk know that there is no suitable cleanup plan in place should Shell drill in the Artic. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.citizenglobal.com%2F&h=zAQEYo6BEAQGNZnQ2qwkKbJRbUwPlgmfT5xJGc3dFCfnNFQ Also, the TEDxOil Spill site is another way of getting the word out to those who care Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?