It has now been a few days since I returned home from the science expedition aboard NOAA ship Nancy Foster. Here in Washington, DC, the heat is even more oppressive than it was down there on the Gulf coast. Our weekend weather is supposed to top 100 degrees. Re-entering terrestrial life itself takes a surprising bit of adjusting, especially diving so abruptly into the frantic pace that drives all modern life.
Offshore drilling expert and Defenders senior policy advisor Richard Charter is back in Washington this week. Here’s what he’s been on the capped well, BP’s response plan, new wellhead management and shutting down Arctic drilling.
A federal court Wednesday afternoon ordered all activities under Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea off the north coast of Alaska halted pending further environmental review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement, and Regulation, formerly the Minerals Management Service.
“My memories of two weeks of 12- to 14-hour days picking up birds are still pretty vivid. Our team operated on pure adrenaline. I guess you can say you don’t know what you can do until you do it. We didn’t stop as long as there were still things to do. If we had been out on the boat all day and a call came in saying there were birds on the beach in need of help, we just did it. We were trying to help every bird.”
Down in the Gulf, Defenders board member Jeff Corwin talks about the species we should be concerned about during the continuing oil disaster. “I want to look at this as an ecosystems event,” he says. “This is not just a story of the iconic Louisiana brown pelican.” Instead he tells Defenders, “What scares me is what we don’t see, but what I believe will resonate through nature for generations to come.”