US Bush administration censors science on polar bears for Big Oil

This is an ITN video about polar bear cub Flocke in Nuremberg zoo in Germany.

From British daily The Independent:

US censors Arctic scientists’ findings as it prepares for oil and gas auction

By Daniel Howden, Deputy Foreign Editor

Published: 22 January 2008

The United States has blocked the release of a landmark assessment of oil and gas activity in the Arctic as it prepares to sell off exploration licences for the frozen Chukchi Sea off Alaska, one of the last intact habitats of the polar bear.

Scientists at the release of the censored report in Norway said there was “huge frustration” that the US had derailed a science-based effort to manage the race for the vast energy reserves of the Arctic.

The long-awaited assessment was meant to bring together work by scientists in all eight Arctic nations to give an up-to-date picture of oil and gas exploitation in the high north. In addition to that it was supposed to give policy makers a clear set of recommendations on how to extract safely what are thought to be up to one quarter of the world’s energy reserves.

Speaking yesterday from Tromso, one of the report’s lead authors, who asked not to be named, said: “They [the US] have blocked it. We have no executive summary and no plain language conclusions.”

See also here.

Other dangers for polar bears: here.

New tests on rare polar bear fossil find in Scotland: here.

16 thoughts on “US Bush administration censors science on polar bears for Big Oil

  1. Dear Friend of Wildlife,

    As someone who cares deeply about the future of America’s wildlife, you currently have an important opportunity to help protect imperiled wildlife habitat in our country’s Arctic region.

    The Minerals Management Service is about to offer up leases in the Arctic Sea–home of polar bears, walruses, seals, whales and many other creatures–for oil and gas drilling. And unfortunately, the administration lacks the full scientific data to determine the true impacts of oil and gas activity in this sensitive ecosystem.

    Please read the message below from our friends at The Wilderness Society and send a message today asking the Minerals Management Service to halt all new leases until the science on drilling is in.


    Dominique Burgunder-Johnson
    National Wildlife Federation

    Dear Friend of Wildlife,

    Polar bears, walruses, seals, whales and ocean-going birds like eider ducks and loons call the Arctic Ocean home. Their survival in an environment seemingly so inhospitable is a wonder of nature. But as climate change continues unabated, these creatures already facing a harsh environment become some of the most vulnerable on earth.

    The Arctic seas are no place for hasty drilling!

    Tell the Minerals Management Service to halt all new oil and gas leases!

    Incredibly, their plight may get worse, as the Minerals Management Service (MMS) considers offering 73 million acres of Arctic waters to oil and gas leasing. That’s an area the size of Arizona.

    It’s critically important that you speak out in defense of these creatures.

    The receding ice cap has made it harder for the animals marine and land-based to get around and find food, including the polar bears that hunt and mate here each year, and the Pacific walruses that live here year round. In fact, 90 percent of the entire Pacific walrus population can be found in these waters.

    But not just wildlife is at stake. Wholesale leasing in this area would endanger the centuries-old way of life of Native communities, whose very culture centers on wildlife and ecosystem integrity.

    Please click here to tell the MMS to halt new leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

    There is simply no safe way to drill in these waters. Studies have shown that even seismic testing of potential drilling sites is known to have an impact on marine animals’ habits and lifecycles. And research conducted by the MMS indicates that with extensive drilling, small crude oil and other petroleum spills are inevitable. MMS predicts a 40% chance of a large spill. Making matters worse, the technology to clean up a spill in icy Arctic waters doesn’t even exist.

    We need science to guide decisions with such long-lasting effects, not pressure from the oil and gas industry. Until there is scientific evidence that drilling won’t harm wildlife, all new oil leases should be taken off the table.

    Write the MMS today to ask that they halt all new leases until the science on drilling is in.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Kathy Kilmer
    The Wilderness Society

    ~The National Wildlife Federation inspires Americans to
    protect wildlife for our children’s future.~

    © 2009 National Wildlife Federation. All rights reserved.
    11100 Wildlife Center Dr., Reston VA 20190 | 1-800-822-9919 | Contact us
    Read NWF’s privacy policy and terms and conditions.


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