Thanks to a new bill in Congress, one of America’s greatest wild places -- the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska -- might become permanently protected as a wilderness area.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently issued an analysis predicting that Lease Sale 193 in the Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi Sea—if developed—has a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill. Amazingly, the agency is proceeding with Shell’s plans to drill there.
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.
Editor's note: Nicole Whittington-Evans is The Wilderness Society's Alaska Director. In this blog she reflects on the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound and the lessons to be learned for Alaska's Arctic waters today.