To the native Gwich’in people, the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is “the sacred place where life begins.” But to many Alaska politicians, it’s just the cap on a pool of oil, and they want to open the lid and start drilling.
The U.S. Coast Guard has spoken, and its message is clear: The Kulluk drill rig ran aground in Alaska because Shell recklessly and knowingly towed it into a brutal North Pacific storm, in part to dodge taxes in Alaska.
Six U.S. senators have asked Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to delay decisions about new leasing and exploration for offshore oil and gas until the government completes a thorough re-evaluation of the environmental and safety risks, and issues enhanced, Arctic-specific regulations.
Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as the crown jewel of America's wildlife refuge system, supports more varieties of plant and animal life than any other protected area in the Arctic Circle.
The rig was at the mercy of the north Pacific’s relentless waves for six days until salvage crews managed to attach a tow line and begin moving it to a safe harbor where they plan to assess how heavily it was damaged.