Oba­ma ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on bars new oil ex­plo­ra­ti­on

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

USA - The Oba­ma ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on block­ed new ex­plo­ra­ti­on for oil and gas in Arc­tic wa­ters, in a win for en­vi­ron­men­tal groups that had fought de­vel­op­ment of the eco­lo­gi­cally fra­gi­le re­gi­on.

The De­part­ment of the In­te­ri­or re­lea­sed a 2017 to 2022 lea­sing plan that block­ed dril­ling in the Chuk­chi and Beau­fort Se­as off nor­thern Alas­ka. It al­so li­mi­ted pe­tro­le­um de­vel­op­ment in the Cook In­let off south-cen­tral Alas­ka. En­vi­ron­men­tal ac­ti­vists ha­ve batt­led dril­ling in Alas­ka to pro­tect wha­les, wal­rus­es and seals, and as part of a broa­der mo­ve­ment to keep remai­ning fos­sil fu­els in the ground. The In­te­ri­or De­part­ment said the plan was “ba­lan­ced,” and left 70 per­cent of eco­no­mi­cally re­co­ver­a­ble oil and gas re­sour­ces open to dril­ling, most­ly in the Gulf of Mexi­co. The plan fo­cu­ses on the best are­as “with the hig­hest re­sour­ce po­ten­ti­al, lo­west con­flict and es­ta­blis­hed in­fra­struc­tu­re - and re­mo­ves re­gi­ons that are sim­ply not right to lea­se,” In­te­ri­or Se­cre­ta­ry Sal­ly Je­well said. Pre­si­dent Barack Oba­ma, who last year be­ca­me the first sit­ting pre­si­dent to cross the Arc­tic Cir­cle, has ma­de figh­ting cli­ma­te chan­ge and pro­tec­ting the Arc­tic pri­o­ri­ties in his ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on. But Pre­si­dent-elect Do­nald Trump, a Re­pu­bli­can who ta­kes of­fi­ce on Jan. 20, 2017, has vo­wed to open re­sour­ces to pe­tro­le­um de­vel­op­ment and could ta­ke steps to re­ver­se the de­ci­si­on.

Oil in­te­rests ha­ve pres­su­red the ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on to ex­plo­re for ener­gy in the Arc­tic. Jack Gi­rard, the head of the Ame­ri­can Pe­tro­le­um In­sti­tu­te in­du­stry group, said the de­ci­si­on “puts the U.S. at a se­rious com­pe­ti­ti­ve dis­ad­van­ta­ge.” Rus­sia and Nor­way ha­ve al­so ex­plo­red the Arc­tic, though Exxon Mo­bil wound down dril­ling in the Rus­si­an north in 2014 due to U.S. sanc­ti­ons over Mo­scow’s ag­gres­si­on in eas­tern Ukrai­ne. Fier­ce winds and fri­gid wa­ters ma­ke the Arc­tic tre­a­cherous for dril­ling equip­ment. Af­ter spen­ding bil­li­ons of dol­lars to ex­plo­re the Alas­kan Arc­tic, Roy­al Dut­ch Shell retre­a­ted in 2015 af­ter suf­fe­ring a gash in one of its ships and en­vi­ron­men­ta­lists had un­co­ver­ed de­tails of an old law that for­ced the com­pa­ny to cut ex­plo­ra­ti­on the­re by half.

(Reu­ters.com)

Of­fi­ci­als tip rats in­to steel drums whe­re they will be kil­led, du­ring a pi­lot sche­me in Ca­kung, East Jak­ar­ta.(Pho­to: The­gu­ar­di­an.com)

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