Last week, President Obama made a terribly risky decision for the Arctic. His administration cleared the final hurdle that allows for drilling into oil-bearing zones in the Arctic Ocean, approving one of Shell Oil's modified drilling permits for the Chukchi Sea.
Shell's extraction from ALEC is part of a larger ongoing effort to position the company as concerned about the environment, responsible, and supportive of efforts to mitigate climate change. Don't believe it for a second.
As a good crew mate, I want the president to see the hole in his "survival suit" -- and our own. That his climate change legacy, the President's concern for a warming and imperiled planet -- especially the belief that we can do something about it -- are inconsistent with Arctic drilling.
Here I am in the large collection of packing cases that goes for the Prudhoe Bay Hotel, about 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle, with nothing to do for the next three hours before the flight on to Barrow, flogging the proverbial dead horse.
Is the practice of civil disobedience justified, in regard to climate change? Unlike war and racism, the effects of global warming are neither clear nor immediate -- though in fact the danger is quickly becoming clearer, as California dries up and wild fires run through the West.
Members of the Climate Action Coalition in Portland, OR, together with Greenpeace activists made history on July 30 when they forced the MSV Fennica, Shell Oil's Arctic icebreaker, to stand down, delaying its departure by approximately 40 hours.
The Arctic may have oil, but the risks of drilling in the Arctic are too great. Arctic oil should stay in the ground. It's time for Shell to do the right thing and announce that they will pull out of the Arctic.
Shell Oil has announced it may take a page out of the BP "Beyond Petroleum" greenwashing book, rebranding itself as something other than an oil company for its United States-based unit. "Oil" could at some point in the near future be removed from the name.
President Obama's own Department of the Interior has already predicted that, if Shell is allowed to proceed with drilling, the likelihood of a large spill is 75 percent. So who's going to clean it up -- and with what completely unproven technology?
On the other, the $6 billion Pembina Pipeline Corporation, the largest pipeline company in the Canadian tar sands, and a plan to build the largest private investment project in Portland, OR, history -- a $500 million propane export terminal.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of the Interior swung the door wide open to drilling in the remote waters of the iconic Arctic Ocean when it announced that it was reaffirming controversial Bush-era leases for the Chukchi Sea - a lease sale referred to as Lease Sale 193.