Monday, 9 March 2009
Drill, baby, drill!
A federal appeals court has vacated an opinion issued last year that halted Shell’s drilling plans for the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s northern coast, leaving both sides in the case wondering what the action means. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday gave no indication whether a change in the 20 November ruling would mean exploration drilling will be allowed, or whether the ruling by a smaller panel of the court’s judges will be replaced with a similar decision.
I found two opposing views about drilling in the Beaufort Sea.
"A coalition of Alaska Native organizations and conservation groups sued to halt drilling because large-scale industrial activities threaten endangered bowhead whales, polar bears and other marine animals in coastal waters just off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Arctic is undergoing major shifts due to climate change. Summer sea ice is retreating rapidly – reaching record minima during the past two summers. The changes raise major concerns about the survival of wildlife – such as the polar bear – that call the Arctic home. In spite of these dramatic, observed changes, however, the Bush administration charged ahead, opening this fragile environment to oil and gas activity, without following environmental laws.
“If polar bears and other ice-dependent species are to survive as the Arctic melts in the face of global warming, we need to protect their critical habitat, not turn it into an industrial zone,” said Rebecca Noblin of the Center for Biological Diversity."
Here's the other view, titled "Ninth Circus Court: Shell can’t drill for oil, since it might piss off polar bears"
"A federal appeals court has ordered Shell Oil to stop its exploratory drilling program off the north coast of Alaska. A hearing is planned for mid August in San Francisco to decide if Shell can go forward and provide us with some oil, after bidding $39 million for the offshore leases, and blowing who knows how much on court costs. If not, no problem: we can just keep paying through the nose to buy oil from Arabs, who will spend the proceeds on madrasahs and weapons programs. Hopefully the polar bears and beluga whales will appreciate it."
Sarah Palin would wholeheartedly agree with the second opinion...
Article about latest from the Court of Appeal here.
First view about drilling in Beaufort Sea here.
The other opinion on this issue here.