Sunday, April 26, 2009

We All Have a Stake in Arctic Drilling -- Take Action, Say No

In today's Los Angeles Times there is an article about more oil drilling in the fragile eco systems of Alaska's Arctic where the area is already being ravaged by global warming. Essentially, the issue is all about money and jobs. The big oil companies, under the Bush Administration, were allowed to drill and now may be able to lease even more land and waters to do so. Some Alaskans are hoping for jobs or payouts (such as to local Indian tribes for land and water leasing). But at what cost?
The cost is a severe disruption of the areas eco systems and more oil spills (every year there are already 500 spills of various sizes along Alaska's North Slope). And 20 years later, there is still oil to be found from the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.

Says the article "Gov. Sarah Palin has warned that without new drilling, the 800-mile-long trans-Alaska oil pipeline could be forced to shut down in as little as 10 years, crippling America's hopes for energy independence, not to mention her state." This is typical dramatic Palin -- keeping her job at the cost of the environment and doing the right thing (which would be to say "no" to more drilling and instead help her state protect its environmental assets and focus on renewable energy).

Again, according to the LA Times, "'It is beyond the pale of stupidity that, in the face of everything that's happening in the Arctic, that we would launch a drilling program,' said Jim Ayers, a vice president of the marine conservation group Oceana."

Here is more information from Oceana on the toxics effects of oil in the oceans. Says the report "Alternatives to oil exist. For example, shifting to a fleet of plug-in and electric vehicles will greatly reduce the need for oil and will also allow our cars to be powered by clean energy, such as wind power. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that offshore wind in U.S. waters could generate more than the current total installed electric capacity."


North America stands at an energy crossroads. As cheap, plentiful conventional oil becomes a luxury of the past, we now face a choice: to set a course for a more sustainable energy future of clean, renewable fuels, or to develop ever-dirtier sources of transportation fuel derived from fossil fuels -- at an even greater cost to our health and environment.

The United States is the world's top oil consumer and thus the primary driver behind the development of new forms of dirty transportation fuels in North America. These fuels are derived from lower-grade, difficult-to-access raw materials, including tar sands, oil shale and coal. Moving down this road has enormous consequences for the air we breathe, the water we drink, our climate, our wildlands and wildlife.

Write to your representative and President Obama at http://www.congress.org/ and say --
  • I want to re-instate the pre-existing moratoria for off-shore oil production including the protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska.

  • Please immediately development a comprehensive conservation and energy plan for the Arctic that provides a transition from oil to renewable energy and conservation. The plan should include a comprehensive scientific assessment of the health, biodiversity and functioning of Arctic ecosystems, as well as the benefits and consequences of specific industrial activities. And also immediately withdraw the Teshekpuk Lake area from potential oil and gas leasing and provide for its permanent protection.

  • Promote energy efficiency and low carbon fuels.

  • Prioritize the development of offshore wind energy in place of offshore oil drilling using financial mechanisms such as loan guarantees and refundable tax credits.

  • Designate the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain as wilderness, immediately, to protect it from oil drilling.

  • Regulate black carbon generated from the use of diesel engines, oil, and gas flaring and marine transport in the Arctic, which is contributing to rising temperatures by absorbing sunlight.
You have a voice! Just cut and past the above bullet points into your letter to your representative and the Obama Administration.


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