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White House Approves Arctic Drilling

Despite constant complaints of inaction on climate change by Congress, the Obama Administration has now approved drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The approval opens the way not just for more carbon emissions but possible dangers of oil spills and other despoilment of a new section of the planet.

The concession was given to Royal Dutch Shell and the approval came from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) with a five page stipulation regarding protecting wildlife, the ocean, and human inhabitants of the area.

Green groups have been working on various fronts to block Shell’s drilling plan, saying the unique, treacherous conditions of the Arctic make drilling too risky. They also argue that Shell has a poor track record in the area “Once again, our government has rushed to approve risky and ill-conceived exploration in one of the most remote and important places on Earth,” Susan Murray, deputy vice president for the Pacific at the group Oceana, said in a statement.

“Shell has not shown that it is prepared to operate responsibly in the Arctic Ocean, and neither the company nor our government has been willing to fully and fairly evaluate the risks of Shell’s proposal,” she added. “We can’t trust Shell with America’s Arctic,” added Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.

The remoteness of the location also means if Shell runs into any problems – say an oil spill or emergency malfunction – it will take considerable time for adequate resources to arrive in the area. It is not an accident that it has taken this long to open up drilling in the Arctic, the terrain is exceedingly difficult and hard to navigate.

Shell could just be the first company to start drilling – ConocoPhillips, Statoil, and Chevron also have leases that have so far gone unused. But now that the Arctic is open for drilling it seems unlikely they will stay away for long.

What could go wrong?

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.


  1. Brandon Jordan
    May 12, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Honestly, it’s like Obama doesn’t care about the environment in spite of all the rhetoric of protecting the environment.

  2. bsbafflesbrains
    May 12, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Empty promises. Opposite world.

  3. May 12, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Does anyone at this late date actually believe here is any difference between one corporate spokesperson and another ?

  4. wagonjack
    May 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    So our “hope and change” president picks a fight with a favorite of the Dem base, Elizabeth Warren over the TPP and gets really personal and nasty….(NO Obama, Warren is NOT just another politician, but you certainly are!) Despite the glut of fossil fuels on the world market, and the fact that the US is creating more dirty energy than ever, Obama is pushing this despite the horrible dangers to the Arctic. I just don’t friggin’ get Obama anymore and haven’t for awhile!

  5. marym
    May 12, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers….

  6. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    What could go wrong? Ask a Judge in Ecuador? Better yet, how about the folks who could not find clean soils???? This was on FDL some time ago!

  7. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Snow and Ice Caps are white….

    White reflects light and heat….
    Black absorbs light and heat….

    Oil is black…..


  8. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    The “power if money” will buy our servitude! It already has. People just don’t realize it or want to make the inquiry. Ask a dead Marlboro-man about servitude to a substance?

  9. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Lame Duck…. In more ways than one. I believe it is called paying back your backers…. Actions speak volumes, compared to words.

  10. wagonjack
    May 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    If you remember the Marlboro man James, you must be as old as I am! (70!) This would not ring a bell with anyone younger than 60!

  11. mulp
    May 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Obama absolutely should seize the property that Shell bought in 2007 from the Bush administration to establish the principle that the dictator has the Constitutional power to seize property to fight climate change and pollution!

    Then in 2016, Dictator Obama can seize all 150 million carbon burning vehicles in the US to save the world from climate change created by 150 million US drivers of carbon burning cars!

    We the People who voted in all the elections that put the drill baby drill Republicans in control of Congress in the 90s and since, who have blocked all action to stop climate change and instead seek to increase pollution and harm. It is Congress acting on behalf of We the People who vote in all election, not just the election that progressives think is for Dictator of the USA.

    The POWER is in Congress; the President carries out the will of We the People who vote in ALL ELECTIONS and put Republicans in POWER with the POWER to make the law.

    We the People who vote in ALL elections gave Shell the right to drill in the Arctic, just like Congress gives you the right to destroy the climate for free by driving your car.