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 »
"National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Nov. 11, the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. ...Bolton was in Moscow to meet with Putin about Trump's decision to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty, a move the Kremlin says 'will make the world more dangerous.'"
Stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday morning "as disappointing forecasts from industrial bellwethers Caterpillar and 3M piled on to concerns over Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic isolation, Italy’s finances and trade-war fears. All the three major Wall Street indexes were trading below their 200-day moving averages, a key technical indicator of long-term momentum and all 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, continuing what has been a punishing month for U.S. stocks. ...Growth is expected to slow further in the fourth quarter, as the effects of U.S tax cuts fade and the impact of tariffs and rising costs rise."
"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."