Go-ahead for Arctic drilling clashes with global warming message
By KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press
The Obama administration’s approval of drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean clashes with the message President Barack Obama will deliver when he visits Alaska to emphasize the dangers of climate change, some environmental groups say.
As much as the groups praise Obama for his overall body of work — from stricter fuel-efficiency standards to regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants — they consider the approval of exploratory drilling in the Arctic a stain on his environmental legacy that will send a mixed message to other countries about the seriousness of confronting global warming.
The burning of fossil fuels causes more greenhouse gases to build up in the atmosphere. Some groups would prefer leaving the oil in the ground and not tempting the harsh environmental conditions that could hinder the response to any potential spill.
Obama, who is visiting Alaska now, says he is mindful of the dangers of offshore drilling, particularly given the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“When it can be done safely and appropriately, U.S. production of oil and natural gas is important,” he said at a news conference earlier this year. “I would rather us, with all the safeguards and standards that we have, be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton made clear on her Twitter account Tuesday that she disagrees with Obama.
“The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk of drilling,” she wrote.
The administration’s approval of Shell’s exploration efforts has done little to stem criticism from congressional Republicans and industry officials who have often accused it of hindering oil and gas production on federal lands. At the same time, the go-ahead has upset a key base of his support.
President Obama is actively advocating for strong measures to address climate change and global warning. He’s spoken about the higher “emitors” of greenhouse gasses (USA is the second highest in the world) yet at the same time he’s approved Shell’s offshore drilling in the Arctic while, at the same time, being mindful of the dangers of offshore drilling, particularly given the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
There’s a good opportunity to start effective changes and leave a significant “legacy” in issues related to the environment.
I hope this doesn’t prove to be wrong.
There won’t be a second chance if something goes wrong.