Despite massive Gulf oil spill, offshore oil drilling starts soon in the Arctic Ocean


Consider that while the Gulf "cleanup" efforts have been stalled by 8-foot seas, waves in the Arctic can swell to 20 feet on a semi-regular basis. In the icy north, winds that are famously stronger than those of the Gulf punish any vessel on the water.

While it's about 47 miles from the Louisiana coast to the Gulf spill site, the Chukchi Sea drilling would take place up to 250 miles from the nearest dock, which is at a speck of a settlement called Wainwright on the remote northwestern Alaskan coast. (And the real help would come from even farther: Dutch Harbor or Prudhoe Bay.)

Think about it: If the supposedly reliable system of "cascading in" oil-spill equipment can't work in the balmy springtime weather of New Orleans, how's it going to function in the total darkness and forever-ice of an Arctic winter?

After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling, a coaltion of environmental groups issued a call for the Obama administration to intercede, saying:
"With limited capacity to respond to potential spills and icy, harsh conditions, the Arctic is no place to take our next drilling gamble, especially when there are still so many unknowns – in the Arctic and in the Gulf."