tagged w/ Arctic Circle
I have postponed this post until I was sure that what follows is going to happen.
Remember the term 'flash melting'? That's when from one day to the next large swathes of ice disappear on the University of Bremen sea ice concentration maps. We witnessed one such instance last year when a relatively large and intense low-pressure area moved in from Alaska over the ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea regions (see blog post). It lasted about a day or two and then quickly faded, but the effects were spectacular.
Well, it looks like we have something bigger coming up this year.
More at the linkI have postponed this post until I was sure that what follows is going to happen.... more
The Western campaign for global dominance has reached the top of the world. To the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources and long-dreamed-of sea-lanes. The largest military exercise in the High North, inside and immediately outside the Arctic Circle, since the end of the Cold War (and perhaps even before) was completed on March 21 in northern Norway. http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/recent-news/43061-cold-response-2012-nato-are-preparing-for-a-new-kind-of-cold-war-in-the-arcticThe Western campaign for global dominance has reached the top of the world. To the... more
1 year ago
Ted Danson urges more science before exploration
Published on November 12th, 2010 5:12 pm
By MARGARET BAUMAN (The Seward Phoenix LOG)
Alaska Native groups and environmentalists opposed to offshore drilling in the Arctic found support this week in testimony offered at a federal hearing by actor Ted Danson, while state, union and industry officials asked for the project to proceed.
Danson, who is in Anchorage filming "Everyone Loves Whales" with Drew Barrymore, told the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement that its revised environmental impact statement still needs work.
"It would be a mistake for the train to leave the station ... to lease and then do the science," he said. "If you're going to drill in environmentally sensitive areas, make sure you've got it right. And we haven't gotten it right yet," said Danson, a board member of the ocean advocacy group Oceana.
"Our suggestion is to stop this draft, do the real science, the base science, and it would take maybe four or five years to do that, $20 million per year, would be well worth that effort," he said.
Danson was among 78 people signed up to testify in the standing-room-only crowd Nov. 9 before BOEMRE, formerly the federal Minerals Management Service, in a midtown Anchorage office building.
BOEMRE officials listened for some three hours to a steady stream of people arguing for and against allowing offshore drilling to proceed in the traditional sea mammal hunting grounds of the North Slope's Inupiat Eskimo hunters.
The hearing was the last of four hearings held in Alaska on the supplemental environmental impact statement for oil and gas lease sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea, which would be conducted by Shell Oil. Others were scheduled earlier at Kotzebue, Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright and Barrow. Shell contends that there is little chance that a blowout would occur in this relatively shallow area of the outer continental shelf, but that if it did, that the spill could be contained and cleaned up.
Danson, who was among the first signed up to testify, had visited just days earlier in Barrow, with North Slope borough Mayor Edward Itta.
"The people he represents have been lifted up economically from oil money into a place where they can live in a much more sustainable way," Danson said. "And at the same time, their spiritual and cultural life depends on whaling, bowhead whale, and they feel that may or may not be in jeopardy from this drilling."
"This is a high risk gamble," said marine scientist Rick Steiner, who followed Danson in giving testimony. Steiner, who has served as an advisor on oil spill disasters worldwide, said the oil industry is not ready to handle a spill in arctic waters. "Oil spill response never ever worked anywhere," he said. "If an oil spill occurred right before freeze up (in the arctic) there would be no chance of clean-up."
Supporters of proceeding with offshore drilling said that if the leases are rescinded it would mean a loss of one of the greatest opportunities in the nation to create jobs, contribute to the reduction of the huge federal deficit, and wean America off of the grip of foreign oil.
"To be able to produce oil estimated at 29 billion barrels, and another possible 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Chukchi may hold the key to helping us solve a significant part of our country's energy woes," said Vince Beltrami, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, which he said represents some 60,000 working families in Alaska.
"To rescind these leases would be to remove the potential of 35,000 year-round jobs and a payroll of more than $72 billion."
Beltrami said concerns about the safety of the environment are paramount. "Shell should be held to the highest safety accountability standards possible, as everyone knows we can ill afford a Gulf Coast style catastrophe in our Arctic waters," he said. "But this company has an excellent track record. Shell has a robust safety plan and has been safely drilling in Alaska for 50 years."
Kevin Banks, director of the state Division of Oil and Gas, complimented BOEMRE for the work they put into the supplemental environmental impact statement. "We believe that it provides more than sufficient support for the decision to affirm the Feb. 6, 2008 Sale 193 and that it is well past time to proceed to the next phase of exploration."
Banks that what is often lost in the debate about OCS development is "the simple fact that when we fail to develop our own domestic resources, we export our nation's wealth through deeper trade imbalances and the costs to maintain our international energy security. Failure to develop our domestic resources 0065acerbates the impacts on the environment in other parts of the world where values about environmental protection and the laws that minimize the impact of industrial activity are non-existent," he said.
Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center for Biological Diversity, also testified, speaking of an Arctic in trouble, warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, with Arctic summer sea ice disappearing more rapidly than climate models predicted.
Noblin said Chukchi species, including polar bears and Pacific walrus, are already showing signs of stress due to loss of sea ice habitat, but that the loaming industrial oil drilling also threatens these species.
"No one, no one has the technology to clean up oil in broken ice conditions," Noblin said. "There is no way to mobilize even a fraction of the response required for the Gulf disaster in the remote Arctic. And the truth is that a large oil spill could mean the difference between survival and extinction for struggling Arctic species."
Noblin told BOEMRE that in order to comply with the law the agency must analyze the substantial gaps in scientific information in the current EIS. "And most importantly, you must not allow drilling to go forward unless you have the scientific knowledge to say, truthfully, that drilling in the Arctic is safe," she said.
BOEMRE will continue to accept testimony through Nov. 30.
http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTmeySEP08HG_2CA1WuVZgzlQjJJeqSGTwyljFM4-qkxBT-_IG44wTed Danson urges more science before exploration
Published on November 12th, 2010... more
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