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Chatterjee reports: "President Barack Obama personally helped Shell obtain authorization to drill for oil in Alaska, according to a 4,678 word front page article in The New York Times. This is a startling break from decades-long US policy which regarded the environment in the Arctic region too fragile to tamper with."

President Barack Obama speaks during the sixth annual Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride, 04/20/12. (photo: Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks during the sixth annual Wounded Warrior Project's Soldier Ride, 04/20/12. (photo: Getty Images)



How Obama Helped Authorize Shell's Drilling the Arctic

By Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch

30 May 12

 

resident Barack Obama personally helped Shell obtain authorization to drill for oil in Alaska, according to a 4,678 word front page article in the New York Times. This is a startling break from decades long U.S. policy which regarded the environment in the Arctic region too fragile to tamper with.

“(T)he president concluded that the reward was worth the risk, and created an unusual interagency group, overseen by a midlevel White House aide, to clear Shell’s path through the often fractious federal regulatory bureaucracy,” write John Broder and Clifford Krauss.

In November 2010, almost two years after he was elected, Obama told William K. Reilly and Carol M. Browner, two former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, what he wanted them to do. “Where are you coming out on the offshore Arctic?” he asked. “What that told me,” Reilly told the New York Times, “was that the president had already gotten deeply into this issue and was prepared to go forward.”

The article describes the clash between two powerful men, Edward Itta, the former mayor of Inupiat North Slope Borough, and Pete Slaiby, Shell Alaska vice president. The story is already the basis of a new book, “The Eskimo and the Oil Man: The Battle at the Top of the World for America’s Future,” by Bob Reiss.

Shell spent over $35 million lobbying for the permission during the Obama adminstration. Marvin Odum, president of Shell North America, and Sara B. Glenn, a lobbyist, visited the White House 19 times to meet with Obama’s staff.

Some environmental groups are astonished at Obama’s role. “We never would have expected a Democratic president — let alone one seeking to be ‘transformative’ — to open up the Arctic Ocean for drilling,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club told the New York Times.

Protests against Shell’s plan have been ongoing for years. On Wednesday, activists launched two reports at the company’s annual meeting in the Hague. “Risking Ruin : Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic, and Nigeria report” by the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and “Out in the Cold – Investor Risk in Shell’s Arctic Exploration” from Platform, Greenpeace and FairPensions.

“Our village has been there 4000 years. Our biggest concern is spilled oil getting into the ocean and affecting the marine mammals that we depend upon. Your clean-up ability is not adequate,” Robert Thompson, a village of Kaktovik on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in Alaska, told shareholders.

Others indigenous activists spoke out also about Shell’s impact in other countries. “Shell has failed to address our concerns in Canada’s tar sands, by not meeting environmental standards and past agreements, and refusing to address their impacts on our constitutionally-protected treaty rights, leaving us with no option but to sue them,” said Eriel Deranger from Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN). “Our Chief has said ‘Enough is enough!’ We fully intend to challenge all Shell’s future projects until they can demonstrate a true willingness to implement our rights.”

According to a report from the UK Tar Sand Network, five protestors wearing masks that combined Shell’s logo with a skull stood silently throughout the meeting reminding the shareholders of the grave human rights and environmental injustices Shell has brought to communities in Nigeria, Rossport (Ireland), the Arctic and Canada.

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+21 # Michael_K 2012-05-30 16:40
Obama's single most salient characteristic is that, if he promises to do something, he will almost inevitably do the opposite.

Worse, he'll try to hide what he does, with more secrecy classifications than we have ever seen before. I couldn't live with myself if I voted to re-elect him. It would be tantamount to voting for Dick Cheney.
 
 
0 # jsheats 2012-05-30 22:37
And so you'll vote for Romney (or fail to vote at all - in a democracy maintained by the sacrifices of soldiers, civil rights demonstrators, tireless advocacy of involved citizens...)?

You may not like the system, but until the Constitution provides a better one, your job is to get out and put citizen pressure on elected representatives to do the right thing. They are not going to do it of their own intrinsic volition - that is just not how the system works.
 
 
-2 # JSRaleigh 2012-05-31 10:51
Quoting jsheats:
And so you'll vote for Romney (or fail to vote at all - in a democracy maintained by the sacrifices of soldiers, civil rights demonstrators, tireless advocacy of involved citizens...)?

You may not like the system, but until the Constitution provides a better one, your job is to get out and put citizen pressure on elected representatives to do the right thing. They are not going to do it of their own intrinsic volition - that is just not how the system works.


The only place I'd disagree with you is the assumption that democracy *IS* being maintained, or that the "system works."

I'll be voting for the lesser evil in November, but I suffer no delusion that my vote will count or make any actual difference. In a real democracy, I wouldn't have to hold my nose and vote for the lesser evil.
 
 
-4 # dbrown 2012-05-30 23:41
I feel the same way, but how can I vote for his Republican opponent? A vote for anyone outside the two major parties seems wasted. What can we do?
 
 
+4 # Stephanie Remington 2012-05-31 17:39
A vote for someone you know for a fact will act in a way that harms you is a wasted vote.

If everyone who wanted to vote for a third party candidate, but was afraid to actually did it, third parties would do quite well in the election.
 
 
+4 # ShamanX 2012-06-01 06:58
Its not wasted. If voting for a third party.. regardless of the impact on the election at hand is the only way to vote your conscience, then you should do it. Its also the only way to begin to make this two-party paradigm obsolete. They expect you to vote on their Dem/Repub spectrum. If you vote unexpectedly.. you throw a real monkey wrench into their plans.
 
 
-5 # Babe 2012-05-31 00:03
So what are you going to do...vote for Romney? Remember the House vote; when the Dems were angry with Obama for playing nicey-nice with the Repubs, causing his base to become angry and not vote. So what good did that do? That's why we're in a mess now with the Tea Party taking over Congress and refusing to get anything that's sponsored by a Dem passed by the House. Let's not play that game again. We still have our environmentalis t non-profits who have a legion of smart lawyers; and the majority of us do not want to see Shell in the Arctic--we have CLOUT!!! I say Vote for Obama this Fall, no matter how angry you are about Shell. We are strong, and we have ways.
 
 
+1 # bob4healthcare 2012-05-31 09:22
Hey, Babe, I reluctantly have a similar or same position as you. But don't you mean "no matter how angry you are about Barack Obama" --- ?? Obama is the guilty one who caved in; Shell simply received what they asked for. SAME THING for the insurance companies. They got what they wanted, partly because INDIVIDUAL AMERICANS (the guilty party) don't yet know what the subject is, much less know what the incredible benefits will be of national single-payer, improved Medicare for All. When Americans know what the subject is and ask for it in massive numbers, then we'll get it.
- Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate
 
 
-5 # Stormy 2012-05-30 21:59
A quote from someone else at another site helps state where I am at: "President Obama is still the best vote but we've got to get him again moving FORWARD WITH CLEAN ENERGY and WAKE HIM UP about the consequences of his "All of the Above" energy policy. Does he think that policy will make the Republicans vote for him? Is that the strategy behind this policy? Is he somehow being held hostage by BIG OIL? Who knows whats really going on. All I know is that in my opinion it's a FLAWED energy policy because it keeps us addicted to oil! Please write to him on the White House Website and sign internet petitions as they come up! PLEASE DO YOUR PART TO STOP SHELL AND OTHERS FROM DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC!"



If we do not reelect Obama we have NO hope.
 
 
+6 # rsnfan 2012-05-30 22:50
Isn't there a good third party candidate somewhere?
 
 
-3 # JSRaleigh 2012-05-31 10:53
Quoting rsnfan:
Isn't there a good third party candidate somewhere?


No, your choices are evil, greater evil and crazy whacko evil.
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-05-31 17:36
Yes. Rocky Anderson.
 
 
+5 # LML 2012-05-31 00:44
He is certainly making it very hard for many of us to contemplate voting for him again....
 
 
+6 # seeuingoa 2012-05-31 02:57
and he has the nerve to ask his
supporters from 2008 to join him again !

Alaska drilling/indefi nite detention/
Tar sand pipeline/violat ion of 1st
amendment/and so on/and so on/....

Obama f..... us once/now he can go
and f... himself.
 
 
+7 # RLF 2012-05-31 05:30
19 visits to the White house...doesn't Obama have anything else to do but help big oil and big business? Nope...that's it...we got swindled!
 
 
0 # dick 2012-05-31 05:59
Arctic drilling was inevitable. A dozen nations were committed.
I do not blame Obama one bit for the inevitability of Keystone or more offshore drilling. However, his catastrophicall y undersized and underconceptual ized Stimulu$ TOTALLY FAILED to trigger a transformative energy policy/infrastr ucture. And it didn't jump start the economy. And it didn't establish any confidence that he could handle the job/economy. Stimulu$ failure was a disaster.
 
 
+1 # MidwestTom 2012-05-31 06:45
Did the oil companies fund and promote Obama, knowing that the only way to get what they wanted was to get a Democrat in the White House that would then not be attacked by the press like a Republican would be. Did a few million dollars outsmart the entire progressive movement?
 
 
+4 # Phlippinout 2012-05-31 07:29
I am with you Michael! It makes me sick to my stomach that i once believed he was a decent man. Now i cannot stand the sound of his voice.
 
 
0 # bob4healthcare 2012-05-31 09:27
Okay, fightback. So you can't stand the sound of Obama's voice. So what? What is your answer to dbrown (2012-05-30 21:41) who wants to know what we can do?
 
 
-5 # chrisconnolly 2012-05-31 09:08
Are the Obama bashers here real? No, Obama isn't perfect by any measure, except when measured against any republican in the House or Senate. What they want to do to us with our own tax dollars is unconscionable. I wonder what the behemoths like Shell are threatening behind those closed doors that the detractors keep crying foul about. Are they threatening to rape and murder his wife and kids? How low will they sink to get what they want? I don't think Obama has the control over the oil giants, or any of the corporates that we the people should have. Vote the Republicans out first then clean up the Democrats. If we hand it all to the repubs we forsake any vestige of control over anything.
 
 
+4 # Stephanie Remington 2012-05-31 17:53
The person doing the bashing is Obama.

If you want to vote for him, have at it. But calling those of us who criticize and protest his abuses "bashers" is twisted.

Would you ridicule people who speak out against spousal or child abuse on the grounds that you don't see a good potential replacement for the abuser in his family?

If Obama is acting like the typical Republican because he is under threat he should resign or decline to run again.

Excusing his extreme behavior is disgraceful.
 
 
+1 # Listner 2012-05-31 10:52
Remember, no demand for oil, no need to drill.
I refuse to vote for the same party that got us all on this page.I'm just as dissapointed as everybody else but I'm not going to throw all the other issues out the window as a consequence.
Also, please don't call Tea baggers "Tea Party members". Calling it a party gives it legitimacy. They're baggers, much like the clerks in grocery stores. They're obstructionist, greedy, self centered white people, most of whom have personal agendas that rarely include "others". Read the Ryan budget and you'll see where the baggers want to take America, it's disgusting.
 
 
+3 # seeuingoa 2012-05-31 11:53
What to do, is the common theme in these
commentaries.

Don´t vote Obama or Romney.

Vote Green, Third Party, Alternative.

Better to vote for a loser than against
your principles.

In case Romney should win (god bless us)
there will probably be more push for
having a strong third party (what about
the name "99%") in 2016.
 
 
0 # bob4healthcare 2012-05-31 12:41
There's very little data to conclude whatever the common theme is. I think the common theme is VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS as the LESSER OF SOME MIGHTY BAD EVILS, including Obama, as the better of two bad major political party options.
- Bob the Health and Health Care Advocate
 
 
0 # James Marcus 2012-06-03 12:11
I'm not sure I understand why Ron Paul does not run for Office 'Independently' ?
Obama, Romney, and Congress (Majority) are are all Lackeys for The Money.
They have, collectively, 'absconded with America'.
Understand? NONE represent 'We, The People', any longer. (or, at least, Presently)
There IS NO LESSER of Evils. They are the Face of the Same (Demonic?) 'Hidden Hand'.
I will not 'vote', and participate in such a CHARADE !(unless an 'Independent' also runs)
 

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