News Stories

Arctic Oil Secrets

Over 7 years ago, Dreamland host Jim Marrs said, "It's all about oil." Now a major UK newspaper reports that the US has blocked the release of a major assessment of oil and gas activity in the Arctic that may be contributing to the extinction of an endangered species.

In the January 22 edition of the Independent, Daniel Howden writes that the US is preparing to "sell off exploration licenses [to drill for oil in the frozen Chukchi Sea off Alaska, one of the last intact habitats of the polar bear."

According to Howden, the assessment that was blocked by the US was supposed to "give policy makers a clear set of recommendations on how to extract safely what are thought to be up to one quarter of the world's energy reserves."

Maybe this was done because there is NO WAY to extract this oil without endangering the polar bears? Howden writes that "the sale to oil and gas companies has been rushed through before Congress can complete efforts to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act, a move which could complicate efforts to sell its habitat to oil majors. The US House of Representatives held a hearing last week to investigate the timing of the Chukchi sell off?Comparatively little is known about the polar bear population in the Chukchi because there hasn't been an intensive study since the mid-1990s.

"?The Chukchi Sea is believed to hold 15 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The receding sea ice and record price for crude is tempting companies into Arctic oil and gas development further out to sea with potentially disastrous consequences. The agencies approving the Chukchi sale admit there is a 40% chance of an oil spill, and that contact with spilt oil is almost certainly fatal for polar bears."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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