One year after the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history, there are still many legislative, regulatory and other changes which need to be made before oil drilling in “frontier” offshore areas like deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean is allowed to proceed, according to The Wilderness Society.
Polar bears, bowhead whales, and native communities are safe from the oil spill devastation that their Gulf coast counterparts are still dealing with. The Obama Administration has announced that they are postponing oil drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off of Alaska’s northern coast until at least 2011. That includes Shell Oil’s plans to do risky exploratory drilling this summer.
The decision comes as part of a larger report on the Deepwater Horizon disaster that was delivered to the President by Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The oil companies said they could drill safely in ecologically senstive areas. They were wrong. As the Deepwater Horizon accident continues to devastate the Gulf Coast with an oil slick twice the size of the state of Maryland, there is no question that it's time to reevaluate the nation's drilling policies.
The Wilderness Society believes it is time to call for a timeout on all new offshore drilling and exploration.
I recently had the chance to see Arctic Tale, a National Geographic documentary film geared towards children that tells the story of a young polar bear (Nanu) and walrus (Seela) from birth to adulthood. The movie touches on a few examples of how climate change is affecting these animals and pulls at the heartstrings in the process.
In one scene, Nanu’s brother collapses from hunger and exhaustion. He dies and has to be left behind as his mother and sister move on in search of food.