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Merkley writes: "At this moment, the damaged Fennica icebreaker is entering the water in my home of Portland, OR, in what could be a make-or-break moment for our environment and our future climate."

Paddle power: activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the 'Paddle in Seattle' protest. (photo: AP)
Paddle power: activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the 'Paddle in Seattle' protest. (photo: AP)


It's Time for Shell to Abandon Its Irresponsible Arctic Drilling Plans

By Senator Jeff Merkley, Reader Supported News

30 July 15

 

t this moment, the damaged Fennica icebreaker is entering the water in my home of Portland, OR, in what could be a make-or-break moment for our environment and our future climate.

Here's the background: In 2008, President George W. Bush not only lifted the executive ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling, but also leased parts of the Arctic's Chukchi Sea to Shell for oil and gas exploration.

When Shell first attempted exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 2012, however, it was clear the company was out of its depth. In September, during open sea testing, Shell's spill containment system was "crushed like a beer can." Then the Noble Discoverer caught on fire later in November. To cap off the year, Shell's other rig, the Kulluk, ran aground and was deeply damaged near Kodiak Island after facing severe winter weather. In a review, the U.S. Coast Guard deemed Shell's wreck to be a result of "inadequate assessment and management of risks."

Yet now, with no indication things will be different this time around -- and with clear and mounting evidence we can't afford to burn Arctic oil if we are serious about climate change -- Shell is making moves toward Arctic drilling once again. In fact, Shell's rigs are already on their way to Arctic waters. The only thing that is stopping Shell is the delay of the Fennica, the damaged icebreaker, which they need to begin their drilling operations.

Shell should seize this last chance to reverse course and drop their reckless plans for Arctic drilling before it is too late.

Drilling in the Arctic is the height of irresponsibility. If the Chukchi leases are developed and Shell begins operations, a major oil spill is extremely likely. We all remember the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in billions of dollars in economic damage to coastal communities and devastating pollution from the 4.9 million barrels of oil that were dumped into the warm Gulf waters. The harsh climate and remote location of the Arctic would make cleanup of a comparable spill nearly impossible, and if a spill happens during the winter, months could pass before a well could be plugged.

Additionally, we should not be investing in infrastructure that will lock in decades of production -- and carbon pollution -- from previously unexploited fossil fuel reserves. The science is clear that we have already discovered five times as much fossil fuel as we can afford to burn if we hope to avert catastrophic climate change. Human civilization already faces enormous challenges from climate change.

We must take steps to alleviate this danger, not make it worse -- and for Shell that means demonstrating global leadership by deciding to not put the world at risk by tapping into untouched and treacherous oil reserves in the Arctic. The U.S. should also use its power and leadership as the new Chair of the Arctic Council to work with other nations to keep Arctic oil off limits.

Simply put, the Arctic may have oil, but the risks of drilling in the Arctic are too great. Arctic oil should stay in the ground.

Several weeks ago, five of my Senate colleagues and I introduced the Stop Arctic Drilling Act of 2015, legislation that would protect the Arctic -- and our climate -- by prohibiting any new or renewed leases for oil drilling in the Arctic.

It can take years to pass legislation in Congress, however, and right now we only have a window of weeks -- maybe just days -- before Shell starts drilling.

A flotilla of activists is trying to keep the Fennica in Portland, but the best path forward is to for the American people to have absolute certainty -- regardless of what happens over the next few days -- that Shell will never drill in the Arctic.

It's time for Shell to do the right thing and announce that they will pull out of the Arctic.

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+36 # sfintersect 2015-07-30 13:16
It's time to stop being a society that lets greed trump the environment and one that lets the most stupid people among us, who don't believe in climate change influence policy. We need the Arctic to remain pristine, and I'm shocked that the president has fallen for this. Or maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
 
 
+10 # A_Har 2015-07-30 16:09
I am not shocked at ALL, that is why I call him OBUMMER.

The White House was warned of the crisis in the Arctic TWO YEARS AGO:

White House warned on imminent Arctic ice death spiral
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral

National security officials worried by rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice overlook threat of permanent global food shortages

Nafeez Ahmed

Thursday 2 May 2013 09.16 EDT

Drilling in the Arctic destabilizes the ice sheets. It is suicidal!

So let's get real here--they don't give a sh!t except to increase surveillance and militarize the police. They know things are going to get bad. A sh!tstorm is brewing.

Meanwhile:

The Methane Monster Roars
http://environmentalfuture.org/the-methane-monster-roars/

January 23, 2015
Paul Beckwith, a climatology and meteorology professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, is an engineer and physicist who researches abrupt climate change in both the present day and in the paleoclimatolog y records of the deep past.

“It is my view that our climate system is in early stages of abrupt climate change that, unchecked, will lead to a temperature rise of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius within a decade or two,” Beckwith told me."

Guess what, we CAN'T survive that. This is the 6th great extinction on earth which *we will be a part of.*

There are no lesser evils remaining ANY MORE. If you think so, you are an idiot.
 
 
+2 # lewagner 2015-07-31 02:40
"So let's get real here--they don't give a sh!t except to increase surveillance and militarize the police. They know things are going to get bad. A sh!tstorm is brewing."

It's not only the police they're militarizing, they're also militarizing the military WITHIN the United States, and making moves to disarm the American people, at the same time.
They're basing this on all kinds of propagandized staged "mass shooting events" almost weekly, now, the propaganda having being "legalized" under the NDAA. The "events" are ridiculously transparent to anyone who does even an hour of serious research.
Yet the mainstream media knows nothing about this. Neither does RSN. Neither does ThinkProgress. Neither does Truthout. :)
 
 
+1 # A_Har 2015-07-31 08:45
Quoting lewagner:
"So let's get real here--they don't give a sh!t except to increase surveillance and militarize the police. They know things are going to get bad. A sh!tstorm is brewing."

It's not only the police they're militarizing, they're also militarizing the military WITHIN the United States, and making moves to disarm the American people, at the same time.
They're basing this on all kinds of propagandized staged "mass shooting events" almost weekly, now, the propaganda having being "legalized" under the NDAA. The "events" are ridiculously transparent to anyone who does even an hour of serious research.
Yet the mainstream media knows nothing about this. Neither does RSN. Neither does ThinkProgress. Neither does Truthout. :)

Yes, they are herding people with the propaganda against guns, and liberals are falling for it which is EXACTLY what they want.

The government uses violence and naked power to push its agenda. Do you think we are immune from the same tactics they used in Iraq? We are not, and indeed those are already happening in some cases. On the other hand, even with all their technology, bombs and hardware, they have not been able to win in an asymmetrical warfare situation. "No one rules if no one obeys."

I am against violence of all kinds including that perpetrated by the government itself. I also believe we have a right to defend ourselves if push comes to shove. The government doesn't seem to think so.
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-07-31 08:58
Quoting lewagner:
It's not only the police they're militarizing, they're also militarizing the military WITHIN the United States...

I read they are getting rid of commanding officers who would refuse to order the troops to fire on American citizens *even during a peaceful protest.*

Obama Asks Military Leaders If They Will “Fire On US Citizens” ["Litmus Test"]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2981315/posts

So consider THAT before you advocate that all guns should be banned. You have been roundly BETRAYED. This country was started by an INSURRECTION. The founders tried to work out their differences with the king, and it did not pan out. Do you actually think this government that passed the NDAA, and the TPP is going to be polite and nice and give up this sh!t because we want them to care about our interests? This is the same one that approved drilling in the Arctic despite the ARCTIC DEATH SPIRAL!

I think their response to people's legitimate call for redress of grievances is going to be nasty and violent. In fact it already is.

So, think about this before you respond in a knee jerk fashion so popular here on RSN. Consider this--you are being herded to give up more of your rights and *the right to self defence.*
 
 
+2 # A_Har 2015-07-31 09:15
The government is getting ready. They have been buying up huge stores of ammo. There was a story a few years back that they were buying up big lots of hollow point bullets:

1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It's Time For A National Conversation
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2013/03/11/1-6-billion-rounds-of-ammo-for-homeland-security-its-time-for-a-national-conversation/

"The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America."

Who the hell are they buying this to use AGAINST? What do they need HOLLOW POINT BULLETS FOR?

Think about this just a little!
 
 
+8 # A_Har 2015-07-30 16:26
The warming from CO2 has warmed the planet such that this effects methane from the clathrates in the Arctic. It warmed the seas there so that the frozen deposits on the ocean floor are bubbling up, and methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. This has the potential to create an UNSTOPPABLE disaster and in rather short order.

The Arctic Methane Emergency Group issued an alert for immediate action LAST WINTER.

Arctic Sea Ice - Methane Release - Planetary Emergency
http://ameg.me/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TIME: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:00-12:30 PM

SUBJECT: Arctic meltdown: a catastrophic threat to our survival
AMEG calls for rapid refreezing of the Arctic to halt runaway melting

So why the sense of crisis?? Read the article below. There is a link to an important video in it.

The Dreaded Methane Veil
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/16/the-dreaded-methane-veil/

by Robert Hunziker

Dr Natalia Shakhova of the Arctic Methane Emergency Group was interviewed on the crisis around Oct 6, 2014, and she said the scientists are just not getting through to the politicians.

Dr Natalia Shakhova East Siberian Arctic Shelf - Methane And Climate Change
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVi1lotRLRU
 
 
+8 # A_Har 2015-07-30 16:31
Methane Crisis As Underwater Hydrates Erupt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUaartMu6-I

Published on Aug 26, 2014

Methane levels above the Arctic ocean have recently been elevated and scientists have found over 500 underwater methane vents off the east coast of the United States. These emissions are most likely caused by melting/gasifyi ng methane clathrates AKA hydrates (frozen methane) under the ocean floor due to warmer water temperatures from climate change.

Persistently High Methane Concentrations over Beaufort Sea
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/...

Horrific Methane Eruptions in East Siberian Sea
http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2014/...

SWERUS-C3 scientists begin methane measurements in outer Laptev Sea
http://www.su.se/english/research/lea...

Experts discover methane leaking from 500 underwater vents off East Coast
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/139...
 
 
+23 # Henry 2015-07-30 14:12
I'm surprised. AND shocked. The IDIOTS of the world – the frackers, the poisoners with Roundup, the promoters of nuclear anything, the killers of LIONS, the prissy Republicans in Congress with surely some weird skeletons in THEIR closets, The Kochs, the genetic meddlers – are ruining our world. And there are so many more of us. And yet …

This is a true tragedy. And it goes on and on.
 
 
+8 # davehaze 2015-07-30 15:40
Henry. Agree, tho you left out the equally odious Democrats and our fasttrack-trade President.
 
 
+15 # Street Level 2015-07-30 14:41
What an empowering photo! People Power!
 
 
+14 # warrior woman 2015-07-30 14:46
Maybe we continue to use the wrong words, nice ones instead of calling them what they are, killers of the earth or some other sort of frame that will catch. Nice isn't going to play when we are so close to the precipice and people need time to adjust their thinking, unfortunately for the rest of us who understand.

And forget about saying "Shell should seize this last chance to reverse course and drop their reckless plans for Arctic drilling before it is too late." They could give a rat's behind, they know what they're doing and have known for decades.
 
 
+11 # maverita 2015-07-30 14:51
boycott shell. i have not used shell products for over a decade. the only way to get their attention is in the pocketbook.
 
 
+7 # A_Har 2015-07-30 16:05
Quoting maverita:
boycott shell. i have not used shell products for over a decade. the only way to get their attention is in the pocketbook.

It's all the oil companies. They all have blood on their hands.
 
 
+11 # Harvard72 2015-07-30 15:12
A Senator who actually speaks the truth. It may be because of the simple geographical proximity of Oregon and the Arctic, but it is encouraging that at least one politician can take an unambiguously explicit stance. (Bernie Sanders can be counted on to do so regularly, but "regular" pols need to be complimented when they actually take a meaningful position on a real life matter.)
 
 
+7 # Vardoz 2015-07-30 15:31
As mankind and our environment is in the midst of eco collapse and a mass extinction these goddamn oil companies want to keep on destroying our ability to live on Earth including all the multitudes of incredible creates that we share the planet with. All these companies care about are their profits at all cost to everything. We commend those who blocked shell- keep it up and thank you!!!!
 
 
+13 # reiverpacific 2015-07-30 15:44
Jeff Merkley is one of the more progressive Senators and it's got nothing to do with Oregon's "Proximity to the Arctic (What's Idaho's excuse if so, and formerly Sarah Palin's "Drill, baby, Drill" Alaska?).
I've been a several of his Town Hall meetings and he's very approachable for discussion after the meeting and good about answering "awkward" questions and not a Chameleon-like" as his senior, "Mr TPP" Wyden.
Now we have a real face-to-face populist battle vs Shell's Ice breaker Fennica and so far the activists are winning.
 
 
+7 # A_Har 2015-07-30 16:37
Yeah, he is a good guy and I contributed to his campaign even though he is not my senator.
 
 
-8 # MidwestTom 2015-07-30 20:45
If you have been reading the NY Times series on ocean vessels you know that EVERY YEAR ocean going ships collectively dump more oil in the c=ocean than the BP spill did. With the thousands of off shore wells already drilled around the world without spilling oil, it would seem that odds are very low for any one additional drilling to create a spill.

Shell had problems last year no doubt about it, but even through those problems they did not spill any oil. Engineers learn from problems. Besides the Russians are already drilling in their Arctic Ocean.

If the oil that seismic studies say is there proves to be true, 25+ Billion barrels, we could once and for all pull completely out of the Middle East.
 
 
+4 # A_Har 2015-07-30 21:13
Tom, with climate change it is game over for oil and drilling. It has to be left in the ground as we are already suffering from severe climate catastrophes and it is going to get worse.

It is not only about the potential for spills, it is also about the potential of destabilizing the ice sheets in the Arctic worse than has already happened as they are melting. Once they are gone, our climate will not resemble anything we have experienced in the past. The holocene period of stable climate where our civilization and agriculture developed is OVER. We may see severe food shortages and famines. The whole world is going to suffer from this.

WE NEED TO STOP USING OIL period. We needed to start the transition decades ago.
 
 
+5 # shraeve 2015-07-30 22:13
The author wrote: "Shell should seize this last chance to reverse course and drop their reckless plans for Arctic drilling before it is too late."

Right. As if that will happen.
 
 
+5 # A_Har 2015-07-30 23:34
They are batsh!t crazy.

They ought to be locked up in the involuntary nut ward and placed in five point restraints. Unfortunately they are out here running loose on the planet.
 
 
+6 # Blackjack 2015-07-30 23:10
Shell do the right thing? Oh, puleeze, how naïve can one be? The right thing to Shell is more drilling = more money. If our double-speaking -on-climate-cha nge President won't do a thing to stop them, why should they care?
 
 
0 # ronnewmexico 2015-08-01 22:07
The real question is…why are they doing this thing in a present priceing environment which virtually guarantees it is not profitable to do so?

That is the real question. Wells all over the US are being closed and rig count has gone down almost without exception each week since the begining of the year.
So why this and why now?
 

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