Offshore Drilling brings more than oil — also env…

Offshore Drilling brings more than oil — also environmental risks

The first Alaskan offshore oil-drilling operation began Thursday, triggering a new controversy among environmentalists already protesting President Bush’s proposals to drill in the state’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Interestingly enough, the ‘Inupiat’ Alaskans — usually ANWR pro-drilling — seem to be also against the offshore drilling. Why? Maybe it’s “drill all you want on land but don’t drill in the ocean. Its our kitchen.” Here’s a reasonable explanation of the different views and perspectives of the Inupiats (pro-ANWR drilling) and the ‘Gwitch’in‘s, which are against it. But, of course, for their own reasons, the Caribous:

“The difference is that the Gwich’in who are against drilling in ANWR depend on the caribou that calve there, while the Inupiat people who are against offshore drilling depend of the bowhead whales that are offshore. In short, none of them is willing to trust the oil industry to develop anything safely in proximity to their own bread basket.”

That may explain recent polls: 68, even 75 percent of the Alaskans are pro-drilling — but the question wasn’t about off- or onshore in specific… I found this anti-offshore drilling voice in this newsgroup.

“There is, for example, no way to clean up an oil spill if there is even as little as 5% ice in the water. And of course there can be that much ice at almost any time of the year here. The NSB is dead against offshore drilling, and they make no bones about the “pro-drilling” stance towards ANWR being an attempt to lure the oil companies away from offshore drilling.”

So, of course, it’s about ‘me-first’. This region is financially dependant on oil, that’s out of question. Only issue is: “How can we survive?” Follow this thread to understand the perspective of native Alaskans and why they want the drilling. And here are some links to opponents of drilling, who want to preserve the precious wildlife. ..one point for ANWR.org: they managed to get this important domain name to lobby for the oil industry (on their site, the word ‘support’ jumps right into your eye.) Read their comments and news. Especially the page “Inupiat Eskimos, Best Environmentalists” . Here’s one quote of this page I find remarkable. Quite pragmatic thinking here (exchange food for oil):

“I was taught by my father to respect the land and it’s resources because our very life depends on them. I realize life is different for me than it was for my father. But we are both the same in our dependence on the resources found on our lands. For my father, it was the food he hunted to feed his family. I also use the land to hunt food for my family. But the oil beneath the surface of ANWR can also provide jobs, schools and a thriving economy for my people.”

Also an interesting site to check is ANWRnews , which “has been established by and for the many concerned Prudhoe Bay BP operators who fear for their lives and the environment due to violations of Government regulations and requirements by BP.” I guess, there is way more to come — as I’ll try to get more of the ‘big picture’ here..

ctnow.com | Offshore Drilling Begins In Alaska The BP Exploration Northstar oil-drilling project is in federal waters 12 miles northwest of Prudhoe Bay. Norton said it is expected to produce 175 million barrels of oil, “enough energy to fuel nearly one million American automobiles for six years.” ((but note the posting below that states that “drilling would provide a mere 140 days’ worth of fuel” — whom to believe?!))

The original quote proceeds here: The oil will be pumped to land through a pipeline buried 7 to 11 feet below the sea bottom. Adam Kolton, Arctic campaign director for the Alaska Wilderness League, argued that offshore oil drilling poses a new threat to an already over-industrialized Alaska. “This is risky,” he said. “This is the first ever sub-sea pipeline. Leaks will be difficult to detect and impossible to clean up.”

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