The Sierra Club, as part of a coalition of conservation groups, took legal action today challenging the adequacy of Shell Oil’s oil spill response plans for the Polar Bear Seas. Even as Shell’s drill ships head to these Arctic Seas there remains no proven way to clean up an oil spill in the icy and dangerous waters.
Behind Shell’s empty promise of safety is an oil spill response plan that relies on unbelievable assumptions, includes equipment that has never been tested in Arctic conditions, and ignores the very real possibility that a spill could continue through the winter. Imagine if a blowout like what happened in the Gulf of Mexico happened in the Arctic Ocean during late September; as winter sea ice begins to form any attempts at stopping the spill, containing the oil, or cleaning up the coasts have to stop until the next summer. This unspeakable disaster could become a horrifying reality.
The last test of spill response equipment in the Arctic was declared a “failure.” Today, more than a decade later, Shell is still relying on much of the same failed equipment. The company touts its new Arctic containment system but it isn’t even included in the spill response plan, nor has it been proven to work in the Arctic.
In its plan the company says it will clean up more than 90% of any oil spilled. Given that less than 10% of spilled oil was recovered after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster it is hard to believe that a cleanup with inadequate equipment amid icebergs, high seas, and extreme weather will do better. Cleanup efforts could be shut down for months if a late season oil spill were to take place—a possibility Shell is not prepared for.
Throw in the lack of knowledge about how drilling or chemical dispersants will affect Arctic wildlife and natural systems and it is clear that Shell cannot drill safely in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
Join us in working to protect the Arctic!
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The U.S. is overly endowed with wind energy - when fast onshore wind, shallow water offshore wind and medium speed onshore wind resources are added up, it's close to 29 times or more electricty that this country is currently producing. And even when the natural gas /oil now used for room temperature heating, ammonia production and some electricty to replace some of the oil proucts used for transport are added in, we still have at least at least 15 times present usage of spare. So resource wise, lack of wind is not a problem, nor is "wind depletion".
But it costs money to tap the wind, and so far, Americans are unwilling to to pay what it really costs. And to invest $2.5 trillion and lose money on that does not make sense, which would be the case if investors (private or government) can't at least cover costs with sales of electricity. And not being able to make a profit on $2.5 trillion of investment (or more) will not get any private investment funds motivated, which is not good...
So, until it is actually profitable to make electricity (and not extraordinarily so, just to a "medium" extent), wind sourced electricity is not going anywhere in this country to the extent that it should (which should be as the MAJOR source of electricity in this country). It is and will be much lower cost than solar PV, even when it is made is USA wind turbines versus made with slave labor in China PV panels. So, allow wind to actually be profitable, and not just a way for the extremely rich to avoid paying taxes (which is how the present "initiatives" work, sort of).
We really need Feed-In Tariffs, big time, at least in states like NY which are plagued with casino gambling like pricing systems for electricity. That way, wind energy advocates also become job and business creation advocates, and the task of going renewable gets a lot easier to accomplish.
But, if you don't get the pricing system(s) for renewable electricity correct, wind energy will remain a trivial shadow of what it could be. So how about more articles about that, and less of these "warm fuzzy and meaningless" articles about a future that never seems to get paid for except by magic (just like nuclear reactor economics....)? Those offshore wind farms in Europe are happening becuase of both a need for jobs and the fact that they are being paid for by electricity consumers, so investors are likely to be able to justify these investments. Like the roughly $US 25 billion in offshore wind projects now actually UNDER construction, and not merely being planned. Money talks, and fertilizer walks is a polite version of the relevant expression in this case....
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