White House review of MMS environmental review procedures will be crucial »

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is seeking public input regarding its review of Minerals Management Service (MMS) environmental review procedures and practices under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CEQ is reviewing and seeking public input regarding the adequacy of MMS compliance with NEPA at all phases of its offshore oil and gas program, specifically focusing on the use of NEPA categorical exclusions.

Reprieve for the Arctic Ocean »

President Obama is expected to announce today that offshore oil drilling in the Arctic will be postponed for one year, and planned lease sales off the coast of Virginia and in the western Gulf of Mexico have been cancelled. New deepwater offshore permits will reportedly be put on hold for six months. However, shallow water permits will reportedly be allowed to proceed.

You can’t rewind an oil spill »

Cleaning up an oil spill in the relatively calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico has been an extreme challenge. In the Arctic Ocean, where temperatures fall well below zero, ocean swells can reach 20 feet and huge ice flows prevent travel to most areas, it’s inconceivable to expect cleaning up to go smoothly.

Redefining our environmental ethic: We need to learn quickly from this disaster »

For most of us, the ocean touches something deep within, and carries at least a bit of a spiritual connotation. We remember the first time that, as small children, we saw the glimmer of the sea, we were mesmerized by the waves, we wondered at the fragile and unusual wildlife. We carry salt water in our veins, so it not unexpected that we should empathize with the ocean itself, as if it heals us when we most need healing, and we hear it when it’s lure calls us home to the things that really matter in our lives.