President Obama to Trump: No Arctic Offshore Oil Drilling For You
President Obama has ensured the protection of our planet with a move that withdraws a majority of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from offshore drilling.
With the help of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 115 million acres in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, as well as 31 canyons in the Atlantic Ocean have been marked as “off limits” to oil and gas corporations.
Thanks to extreme ocean warming, marine life is threatened and the promise of oil drilling simply elevates the endangerment these sea animals face. Using a law from 1953 called the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), President Obama has placed protections on 98% of Arctic water under US control.
This new protection deems unleased lands protected and “unavailable for drilling” while simultaneously refusing to grant new leases. Although oil from the Arctic represents only 0.1% of the US entire oil production, there has been billions of dollars invested into the Alaskan Arctic by oil and gas corporations to extract fossil fuels.
Since 2012, oil companies have been waiting and watching Arctic sea ice melting at an exorbitant rate of 1.58 million square miles a year.
Walt Meier, researcher for the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) warns that slushie conditions at the Arctic are being facilitated by “crushed ice and that is a lot easier to melt and melt more quickly.”
Climate scientists assert that this melting is caused by man-made climate change and eventually this trend will destroy the polar ice caps.
According to an international team of scientists, a study published in Nature states that there is “an immense amount of organic carbon, more than ten times the size of carbon stocks in northern permafrost regions.”
Jemima Wadham, research leader from Bristol University said: “Our laboratory experiments tell us that these sub-ice environments are also biologically active, meaning that this organic carbon is probably being metabolized to carbon dioxide and methane gas by microbes.”
Climate change could destabilize these “methane reserves” which could be released if global warming continues.
Oil corporations like Shell are celebrating the melting of this sea-ice. They maintain that there are massive amounts of petroleum reserves at the polar ice caps underneath the seabed. More melting means easier access to these alleged reserves.
The Department of the Interior previously approved Shell Oil’s lease to drill in the Arctic.
Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director, explained that “melting Arctic ice is a warning, not a business opportunity.”
Shell has been anxiously waiting for the green light to drill into the Chukchi Sea.
The flow of oil under the Arctic Ocean, believed to be only 3 years’ worth of a global supply, would not justify the desire of the oil corporations to begin drilling in the region.