11 Nov 2010:
Oil Companies Not Prepared
To Respond to Massive Arctic Spill
Harsh weather conditions, darkness, and shifting sea ice could delay efforts to respond to offshore oil disasters in the remote Arctic by six months or more, and likely result in oil being trapped in and under
the ice for years, according to a new report. The report by the Pew Environment Group
, which comes as the oil industry pushes for the increasingly ice-free Arctic Ocean to be opened to drilling, warns that oil companies are unprepared to deal with an Arctic spill. A massive spill could severely harm populations of walrus, seal, and polar bears
, and decimate the indigenous communities that rely on hunting. The report also notes that oil persists in cold Arctic waters far longer than in warmer waters, such as the Gulf of Mexico, site of the BP spill. The report recommends reforms that would close gaps in risk analysis, response planning, oversight, and scientific research. “The Gulf of Mexico catastrophe
showed us the consequences of lax oversight and inadequate response capacity, even in temperate waters near population centers,” said Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew’s U.S. Arctic Program.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.