Photo: sea lion at my zoo
With the earthquake this morning (a 7.9 magnitude), I was reminded of yet another reason I oppose drilling in the Arctic. The Trump administration is determined to open up this vast area for oil exploration and extraction.
Here are some reasons to oppose it:
1. Oil Spills
The US government itself estimates that there is a 75% chance of an oil spill in the Chukchi Sea if it is opened to offshore drilling. Unlike the Gulf of Mexico spill, the remote location and ice will greatly complicate the clean up. In fact, there is no proven method for cleaning an oil spill off an icy landscape.
An oil spill would be disasterous for wildlife. But, development will hurt animals too. 197,000 caribou migrate to their calving grounds. Migratory birds, sea lions, seals, wolves, polar bears, and more call this area home. Building rigs requires building transport routes and human settlements, undoubtedly causing disruption.
3. Environmental impact everywhere
World scientists are trying to limit average global warming to 2 degrees C. Drilling in the Arctic will make it nearly impossible to meet the goal. Rising sea levels will affect all areas, so if you’re living in Miami you should still care about the great white north.
I was shocked to see a few minutes of CNBC – the stock channel – and hearing them saying they were opposed to drilling in the Arctic and on US coastlines. If anyone was for it, I would think it would be those looking to make a quick buck. But, the commentator explained that new technology used by companies like Halliburton have made drilling in current locations very profitable and efficient. It is possible to have a surplus of production without drilling in new areas. He believed the long term costs of opening vulnerable areas to drilling would far outweigh any benefit, and hurt our economy in the future.