Cries of Betrayal, Calls to Organize as Obama Approves Arctic Drilling
'With this decision, President Obama has given Shell an open invitation to turn the Chukchi Sea into an energy sacrifice zone,' said Marissa Knodel of Friends of the Earth
Cries of Betrayal, Calls to Organize as Obama Approves Arctic Drilling
By Sarah Lazare / commondreams.org
Jul 23, 2015

President Barack Obama on Wednesday afternoon gave the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell PLC to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska, flouting fierce public opposition to the extraction over the severe danger it poses to the ocean ecosystem, climate, and coastal communities.

"The president has made a big mistake allowing Shell back into the Arctic," declared Center for Biological Diversity Alaska director Rebecca Noblin in a press statement released Wednesday. "The risks of a devastating oil spill in this harsh environment are just too great, particularly for a company with such poor performance record. This is a reckless move by a country that is still struggling to reduce its impact on global warming."

The permits granted Wednesday mean that the oil giant can commence with drilling exploratory wells as soon as its vessels and equipment reach the sea. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement announced it has included some conditions, limiting Shell to "drilling only the top sections of wells and prohibit Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones."

But campaigners say that the restrictions are weak, and the fact that Shell will now be permitted to drill in the Arctic constitutes a deep betrayal of Obama's own pledge to make tackling climate change one of his top three priorities during his second term.

Moreover, the decision comes as scientists warn that to avert a climate catastrophe, the majority of fossil fuel deposits around the world must remain unused.

As the Sierra Club's Michael Brune said in response to the Shell announcement on Wednesday: "The simple truth is that if we are to meet our climate goals, we must leave the vast majority of dirty fuels—including 100 percent of the Arctic Ocean’s oil—in the ground."

"With this decision, President Obama has given Shell an open invitation to turn the Chukchi Sea into an energy sacrifice zone, threatening both the resilience of the American Arctic Ocean and his climate legacy," Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Marissa Knodel declared Wednesday. "Shell will pollute the environment, threaten endangered species, impair the subsistence practices and livelihoods of coastal communities, and take us further down the path of climate disruption."

Greenpeace USA declared in a tweet on Wednesday that "Shell cleared a major hurdle to drill in the Arctic, but it's not too late for [the president] to stop them."

Campaigners say the growing climate justice movement—which has protested Arctic drilling from land and sea—will not be discouraged by Wednesday's development, and in fact, will pick up the pace.

"The fight to keep the Arctic Ocean off limits to Big Oil is not over, and climate activists will not let our future be dictated by Shell," said Knodel. "President Obama will bear responsibility for the damage that Shell wreaks in the Arctic."

Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, said Wednesday that protesters are already preparing to respond to the administration's decision: "Now all eyes are on Portland as Kayakativists converge on the City of Roses for Round 2 of the People vs. Shell."

Follow the issue on Twitter: #ShellNo

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

3.8 ·
1
Trending Today
The Uncurious, Continuing, Stubborn Refusal to Grasp Bernie Sanders
Liam Miller92,815 views today ·
50 Eco-Conscious Documentaries to Celebrate Earth Day (That You Can Watch Online)
Films For Action17,028 views today ·
25 Cheat Sheets for Taking Care of Yourself Like a Damn Adult
Anna Borges10,495 views today ·
5 Reasons to Build a Network of Small Groups, Rather Than a Mass Movement of Individuals
Richard D. Bartlett9,071 views today ·
Meet the Teen Inventor Who Wants to Get the Navajo Nation off Coal
5 min8,518 views today ·
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills7,224 views today ·
Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World
Henrik Edberg5,205 views today ·
We Stand for All Sacred Life on Earth
Joe Brewer3,404 views today ·
Why V for Vendetta Author Alan Moore Says You Should Support Jeremy Corbyn
Alan Moore2,650 views today ·
Load More
What's Next
Ice Free Arctic in Two Years Heralds Methane Catastrophe: Scientist
Nafeez Ahmed
The Global Transition Tipping Point Has Arrived - Vive la Révolution
Nafeez Ahmed
Action 4 Climate (trailer)
3 min
Like us on Facebook?
Cries of Betrayal, Calls to Organize as Obama Approves Arctic Drilling