Re “Offshore Oil Drilling’s New and Frozen Frontier” (“The Energy Rush” series, front page, May 24):
News that North Dakota has overtaken Alaska in oil production tells the story of shale oil’s ascendancy in the country’s oil supply. But the potential of Alaska’s offshore resources could put Alaska back on top.
Some would like us to believe that it’s too risky to explore the 25 billion barrels of potential oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. They argue that we should leave nearly a quarter of our known, technically recoverable outer continental shelf resources in place. This ignores science and the facts.
One example: the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management “found no evidence that the proposed action would significantly affect the quality of the human environment.” Coastal communities will be protected while the country benefits. America still needs to say yes to new Arctic oil. The issue is vital for Alaska and for America.
Juneau, Alaska, May 25, 2012
To the Editor:
Imagine: a president who ignores the advice of his own scientists on a key environmental issue, dredging for votes in an election year. Sound familiar?
As you report, Shell orchestrated a years-long lobbying effort that is likely to result in the first drilling for oil in the Arctic. Shell even joined a climate change advocacy coalition to open doors at the White House and in Congress. We were in those rooms; we saw Shell’s cynical tactics.
The administration is ignoring warnings from the Coast Guard, the United States Geological Survey, the Government Accountability Office and hundreds of scientists. All say the industry is not prepared to drill safely in Arctic waters. Their nightmare scenario: a BP-like blowout in an ice-locked sea.
America’s Arctic is a national treasure. Every June, what you call the North Slope’s “flat, white emptiness” transforms into one of the world’s most prolific nurseries, where birds from six continents converge to raise their young.
You can’t blame native Alaskans when they hear echoes of “Damn Yankees”: “Whatever Big Oil wants, Big Oil gets.”
President and Chief Executive
National Audubon Society
New York, May 24, 2012