7 thoughts on “New Big Oil Internet game

  1. The icy waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, north of Alaska, are home to the entire American population of polar bears.

    Thanks to George Bush, these waters might also become home to a massive and dangerous network of oil rigs and pipelines.

    Tell President Obama’s new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to revoke Bush’s plan to drill in the ‘Polar Bear Seas.’

    Bob Fertik

    The ‘Polar Bear Seas’ are now under threat of drilling – by a last-minute Bush policy. The entire American population of polar bears is at risk.

    The Department of the Interior is now in the hands of the Obama administration. Urge them to revoke this irresponsible plan today!

    Click here to send a public comment…

    Have you ever seen a polar bear covered in oil?

    If you’re like me, you hope you never will. When oil meets polar bear fur, it coats thickly – matting and clumping the fur until it’s useless against the frost and wind. Tarnished and bare, slowly the bear succumbs to the elements.

    The image alone is heartbreaking. And you could see it in short order if a last-minute Bush drilling plan is allowed to stand. The entire American population of polar bears lives in the proposed drilling zone, off the Arctic coast of Alaska.

    Is this is really where we want to allow them to drill every last acre? In the ‘Polar Bear Seas’? In a climate so harsh that no technology exists to clean up the major oil spills that are predicted by the government’s own experts? It would seal the fate of the polar bear.

    Send a public comment today: Call on the Obama administration to halt all new drilling in the Polar Bear Seas. It’s simply not worth it.

    Drill-it-all proposals never make sense, but this is beyond the pale. President Obama recently asked Americans to join him in ushering in a new era of responsibility. This is a golden opportunity for his administration to lead by example.

    The Polar Bear Seas are comprised of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in the Arctic waters north of Alaska. This may seem like a far-off place – but to many, it’s home. Climate change is already destroying the marine environment that sustains the polar bear and the subsistence lifestyle of Inupiat Natives. Drilling will only add insult to injury. We must speak out before America extends the oily policies of the past that destroy lives and livelihoods. With waters that are treacherous for oil rigs, pipelines and tankers – icebergs are frequently as large as apartment buildings and 45-foot seas are not uncommon – oil spills would be a constant risk.

    Big Oil’s willing to brave it – for the profit, of course – and because they won’t have to pay for clean up: No technology currently exists to clean oil spills amid the broken Arctic ice.

    It’s just not worth it. Urge the administration and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to take the responsible path and revoke this plan!

    I hope I will never see a polar bear covered in oil. I know you feel the same. America’s wild lands and waters are desperate for responsible leadership. We need Obama and Salazar to do the right thing.

    Thank you,

    Cindy Shogan
    Executive Director
    Alaska Wilderness League

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  2. Court blocks Bush-era Alaska offshore drilling

    Interior Department is ordered to conduct environmental review

    April 17, 2009

    WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Bush administration did not properly study the environmental impact of expanding oil and gas drilling off the Alaska coast and shelved a program to find new reserves.

    A three-judge panel in Washington found that the Bush-era Interior Department failed to consider the effect on the environment and marine life before it began the process in August 2005 to expand an oil and gas leasing program in the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi seas.

    The appeals court ordered the department, now run by President Barack Obama’s appointee Ken Salazar, to analyze the areas to determine environmental risks and potential damage before moving ahead with the program.

    The seas are home to wildlife including polar bears, whales, seals, walruses and seabirds. The lawsuit was brought by three environmental groups that want to protect the ecosystem and the Native Village of Point Hope, Alaska, a tribe that lives off the wildlife on the Chukchi Sea coast.

    The decision comes at a time when oil and gas producers are finding it increasingly difficult to find new reserves and boost production at home and abroad. Output from the biggest U.S. oil companies has largely been in decline in the past few years.

    Industry, activist reaction

    The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s trade association which joined the lawsuit to defend the program, said Friday it’s reviewing the implications of the court’s decision.

    “It would be a disservice to all Americans — and a devastating blow to the economy — if this decision were to delay further the development of vital oil and natural gas resources,” the organization said in a statement. “Development in federal waters off the nation’s coast provides thousands of well-paying jobs, government revenues and the fuel needed to run America’s cars and factories, heat our homes and the feedstock needed to make the materials we use every day.”

    The Interior Department did not comment other than to say it was reviewing the decision. The department had already delayed the leasing program by five years to complete environmental studies.

    Attorney William Snape, who argued the case for the environmentalists before the appeals court, said the species in the area are already under significant environmental threat because of global warming. He said Interior Secretary Salazar has sent mixed signals on how he’ll handle drilling in the outer continental shelf, but the ruling is a chance for the new administration to protect the sensitive areas.

    “We’re seeing a whole ecosystem potentially collapse,” Snape said. “This really is a great opportunity for Salazar to do the right thing.”

    So far, the Interior Department has only approved one lease sale in the disputed areas, which involved more than 29 million acres in the Chukchi Sea, extending from about 50 miles to 200 miles offshore. The sale in February 2008 attracted 667 bids totaling almost $3.4 billion, the most in any offshore lease sale in Alaska history. The high bids totaled more than $2.6 billion.

    Lower court ruled against Bush

    Environmental groups had sued the Bush administration over the program.

    After a lower court ruled against the Bush administration last November, the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, which oversees drilling in federal areas, said it had done the required work.

    MMS spokesman David Smith said the agency produced a nearly 1,600-page environmental impact statement and other reviews to conclude that there was no significant threat to wildlife.

    “These extensively analyzed potential impacts to wildlife, including the bowhead whale and subsistence activities,” he said. “We believe that MMS did conduct the required ‘hard look’ to see if an environmental impact statement was necessary.”

    But the lower court judges said MMS did not provide convincing reasons as to why exploratory drilling plans at specific sites would have an insignificant effect on bowhead whales and their migratory routes.

    Studies relied on by the agency did not actually assess potential significance of underwater noise from drilling, the judges noted.

    The agency’s attempt to rely on a monitoring program as a mitigation measure was “similarly ill-founded,” the judges wrote.

    The judges said MMS also acknowledged gaps in data on fish populations but concluded anyway that potential effects would be insignificant or unsubstantiated.

    “We are unpersuaded that MMS took the requisite ‘hard look’ at the environmental impact of this project,” the judges concluded.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30265509

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