Wednesday, May 11, 2016

As firms abandon Arctic drilling, Obama comes under pressure to do more to avert dangerous warming there

Major oil and gas firms abandoned most of their leases in the Arctic this week, just as President Barack Obama and others are coming under increased pressure to avert dangerous warming in the region. Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Eni and Iona Energy have relinquished all but one lease in the Chukchi Sea, company officials confirmed Tuesday, as well as some in the Beaufort Sea. The move to give back roughly $2.5 billion worth of oil and gas leases spanning 2.2 million acres of the Arctic Ocean, in the same week that the leaders of five Arctic nations are coming to Washington for a White House summit, has reignited the debate over how best to protect an area that is showing new signs of vulnerability to climate change. "Today we are an important step closer to a sustainable future for the Arctic Ocean," said Michael Levine, Pacific senior counsel for the advocacy group Oceana. "Hopefully, today marks the end of the ecologically and economically risky push to drill in the Arctic Ocean." Many Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists, however, are pushing for the administration to ban Arctic drilling altogether as part of the next five-year leasing plan, which runs from 2017 to 2022. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-California, joined by Robert Dold, R-Illinois and 66 other House Democrats, sent a letter last week to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell calling for the administration to revise the leasing plan before it becomes final...more

No comments: