Archive for August 2nd, 2011

The Politics of Denial and Arctic Drilling for Oil and Gas, Part 2

posted by Jael Ever @ 13:43 PM
August 2, 2011

The last blog mentioned that there is considerable public resistance to the idea of drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic seabed. In addition to the Native American tribesmen who share concerns about the drilling’s effect on the fish and sea mammals that comprise their livelihoods, Greenpeace and other activists rail greatly against any drilling projects. Nevertheless the political push to begin the drilling continues. And that push excellerates despite the fact that ice on the Arctic pole is melting faster than scientists predicted, and that this melting releases even more dangerous greenhouse methane gas into the atmosphere than is already there.

Moreover Greenpeace activists argue that drilling in the Arctic far exceeds the dangers involved in British Petroleum’s (BP) blowout spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Greenpeace blogger jhocevar insists: “The truth is that Shell’s [Shell Oil Company] plans in Alaska are even riskier than BP’s. The likelihood of a blowout is higher. . . oil spill “clean-up” in this harsh, remote environment is impossible. The nearest Coast Guard station is a thousand miles away.” This April Greenpeace seized the Leiv Eiriksson, a ship owned by Cairn Energy, a Greenland company. Calling the ship “a clear and present danger to the pristine arctic environment,” as they spectacularly boarded the ship, the resisters argued that it’s attempt to drill four new exploratory wells “at staggering depth of around 1500m” is beyond risky: “Freezing temperatures, severe weather and a highly remote location pose unprecedented challenges to any oil spill response in the Arctic and mean a spill would be impossible to contain and clean up.”

But such protesters are at odds with political agendas in this and other nations. Even before the Interior Department’s Report on Arctic drilling issued last week, Congress was putting pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to allow Arctic drilling to proceed. According to Jerry Beilinson’s article in Popular Mechanics, “On June 22, the day before the study was made public, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would impose a six-month timeline on the Environmental Protection Agency to approve or deny offshore drilling proposals, and exempt these permits from oversight by the EPA’s review panel, the Environmental Appeals Board.” In other words, as stated in the last blog, some politicians plan for drilling in the Arctic to begin no matter what environmentalists, government agency reports, Native Americans or anyone else says.

New Testament Christian messages chides idolaters for idolizing animals: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1: 25). Never did it enter the Apostles’ minds that instead of worshiping the polar bears, whales, walruses, seals, porcupine caribou, musk oxen, etc. living in the Arctic, men would kill them to obtain this new god called oil! And this is progress?

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