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Sierra Daily

Oct 18, 2012

Up Close and Personal

AKShellKullukDrillRigOffAlaskaOct121568BraaschJust how close is Shell’s new offshore rig in the Arctic to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Photojournalist Gary Braasch shows us at his compelling website World View of Global Warming: The Photographic Documentation of Climate Change.

As Braasch writes: “The drill rig is only 12 miles offshore of the western boundary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which can be seen in the photograph. The Refuge has been protected from land oil drilling through many years of Congressional battles. The 160 foot high Kulluk rig is anchored above a Federal oil prospect explored in the 1980s and 90s by other oil companies -- but there has been no oil prospecting or drilling in these waters since then.”

The Sierra Club has been working to protect the Arctic Refuge and Arctic coast for decades. (In 2006, the organization awarded Braasch its Ansel Adams Award for his online photography project.) As for Shell, the New York Times noted in September that company “expected to receive all the necessary permits to drill up to five wells this summer and fall, but equipment problems and persistent sea ice forced the company to cut back its program repeatedly.” Shell expects to be back drilling in the Arctic next summer.

Image by Gary Braasch/WorldViewOfGlobalWarming.org

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

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