Obama Has a Lot of Enemies on Arctic Drilling. Al Gore Is the Latest.

The former vice president calls drilling in the icy waters “insane.”

Former US Vice President Al Gore attends a session of the World Economic Forum annual meeting on January 21, 2015 in Davos.
National Journal
July 16, 2015, 7:09 a.m.

President Obama’s decision to let Shell drill for oil in Arctic waters feels like a betrayal to many of his environmental allies.

Add Al Gore to that list.

“I think Arctic drilling is insane,” the former vice president-turned-environmental-activist said in an interview with The Guardian in Toronto. “The Deepwater Horizon spill was warning enough, and the conditions are so hostile to human activity there that, no, I think it’s a mistake to drill for oil in the Arctic. I think that ought to be banned.”

Gore was quick to say “that in his second term [Obama] has done really quite a good job” of tackling global warming overall. Gore’s criticism of the president over Arctic drilling, however, is all but guaranteed to add momentum to a broader fight to prevent the administration from letting Shell search for Arctic oil this summer.

Senate Democrats are also pushing back hard on Arctic drilling. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon will unveil legislation on Thursday aimed at stopping any drilling in frigid and notoriously treacherous Arctic waters, an effort that will likely win widespread support from the environmental movement. Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Edward Markey of Massachusetts have signed on as cosponsors.

Meanwhile, green groups have descended on the port of Seattle in kayaks in an attempt to block Shell from moving its drilling rigs to the Chukchi Sea where the oil giant plans to drill.

Environmentalists fear that Arctic drilling could spark a major spill that would be impossible to contain and would be potentially devastating to wildlife off the Arctic coast.

The Obama administration announced in May that Shell could move forward with plans to explore Arctic waters for oil, citing tightened federal safety standards as one reason officials believe the decision is justified.

The move was met with cautious approval from the oil and gas industry, which views the vast untapped energy reserves of the Arctic as a major potential economic opportunity.

But the decision has generated intense opposition from environmentalists who worry about the risk of a spill and say that the move is a step in exactly the wrong direction at a time when the movement has rallied around the aim of keeping as much of the world’s existing reserves of oil and gas in the ground.

Bill McKibben, a pioneer of the grassroots environmental movement and a leading opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, went as far as to call the president’s decision a different form of climate-change denial in a New York Times op-ed in May.

What We're Following See More »
VIA VIDEO
Biden Announces
19 hours ago
THE LATEST
CALLS CONGRESS "VERY PARTISAN"
Trump Opposes White House Aides Giving Congressional Testimony
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"President Trump on Tuesday said he is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimony to congressional panels in the wake of the special counsel report, intensifying a power struggle between his administration and House Democrats. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said that complying with congressional requests was unnecessary after the White House cooperated with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference and the president’s own conduct in office."

Source:
WANTS IT BY MAY 1
Nadler Subpoenas Unredacted Report
6 days ago
THE LATEST
ONLY TWO ARE KNOWN
Mueller Made 14 Criminal Referrals
1 weeks ago
THE LATEST
POSTED ONLINE
The Report Is Here
1 weeks ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login