[Note for TomDispatch Readers: This site will be taking off Memorial Day. The next post will be on Tuesday, May 26th. Tom]
It isn’t the best of times for the American Arctic and let me explain why.
The world is in the midst of an oil glut. In the last year, oil prices bottomed out before rising modestly. A NASA study just offered the news that a massive ice shelf in Antarctica, half the size of Rhode Island, will disintegrate by 2020, and not so long agoScience magazine reported that the melting of that region’s ice sheets is proceeding far faster than expected. Sayonara, Miami Beach! All of this, of course, is happening thanks to the burning of fossil fuels. In March, the Obama administration responded to such a world by preparing the way for a rather familiar future. It lifted a ban on drilling for oil and gas off the U.S. southern Atlantic coast, opening those waters and their untapped four billion barrels of oil and 37 trillion cubic feet of gas to future drilling. Then, less than two weeks ago, the Interior Department green-lighted Shell Oil, a company with a memorably bleak record of exploration anddisaster in the Arctic, to launch this country into a drill-baby-drill future in northern waters.
If Shell gets all its other permits in place, it will begin drilling this summer in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast. This will happen under what might be some of the worst weather conditions on the planet in an area “prone to hurricane-force storms, 20-foot swells, pervasive sea ice, [and] frigid temperatures.” We’re talking, of course, about another four billion barrels of potentially exploitable oil just in that region, which is also a sanctuary for whales, polar bears, and other species that have no vote in this matter. Subhankar Banerjee put the environmental problem in a nutshell (or perhaps an ice cube) at this site back in March in a piece aptly titled “Arctic Nightmares.” Of the dangers of letting Shell loose in those waters, he wrote, “Just think of the way the blowout of one drilling platform, BP’s Deepwater Horizon, devastated the Gulf of Mexico. Now, imagine the same thing happening without any clean-up help in sight.” Keep in mind that this sort of far north drilling can only go on because the past drilling and burning of fossil fuels has helped melt Arctic sea ice and open up its potentially vast energy reserves to exploitation. It’s a little likewatching the proverbial snake eat its tail.
So, thanks to our environmental president, things look bad off Alaska. And as TomDispatch regular Dahr Jamail reports, in June they’re about to get significantly worse. The U.S. Navy is arriving in the Gulf of Alaska big time — and we’re not talking about the cavalry riding to the rescue here. In waters that are starting to seem like Grand Central Station, that service is planning to launch massive war games with a new set of potentially deleterious effects on those seas and what lives in them. But let Jamail explain. Note that this is a joint project of TomDispatch and Truthout, the invaluable website where he now works. Tom
Destroying What Remains
How the U.S. Navy Plans to War Game the Arctic
By Dahr Jamail
I lived in Anchorage for 10 years and spent much of that time climbing in and on the spine of the state, the Alaska Range. Three times I stood atop the mountain the Athabaskans call Denali, “the great one.” During that decade, I mountaineered for more than half a year on that magnificent state’s highest peaks. It was there that I took in my own insignificance while living amid rock and ice, sleeping atop glaciers that creaked and moaned as they slowly ground their way toward lower elevations.
Alaska contains the largest coastal mountain range in the world and the highest peak in North America. It has more coastline than the entire contiguous 48 states combined and is big enough to hold the state of Texas two and a half times over. It has the largest population of bald eagles in the country. It has 430 kinds of birds along with the brown bear, the largest carnivorous land mammal in the world, and other species ranging from the pygmy shrew that weighs less than a penny to gray whales that come in at 45 tons. Species that are classified as “endangered” in other places are often found in abundance in Alaska.
Now, a dozen years after I left my home state and landed in Baghdad to begin life as a journalist and nine years after definitively abandoning Alaska, I find myself back. I wish it was to climb another mountain, but this time, unfortunately, it’s because I seem increasingly incapable of escaping the long and destructive reach of the U.S. military.
3 days ago – If Shell gets all its other permits in place, it will begin drilling this summer in the Chukchi Sea … How the U.S. Navy Plans to War Game the Arctic
82B 2011 Alaska Arctic Villiage is Torn by Plan for Oil Drilling NYTimes October 25, 2011.pdf … 82E 2011 Alaska Arctic-U.S. Interior Department Closer to Approving ShellOil … 82H 2006 U.S. Navy NRl Sensors Measure Airglow in the Upper … 82L 2010 Legal Battle for the Arctic Heats Up August 20, 2010 CBC News …
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1000142405270230333…The Wall Street Journal
Jan 12, 2014 – Pentagon budget cuts, however, make plans for the new Arctic frontier difficult. … The long coast of Alaska gives the U.S. claim to a large economic zone in the Arctic. … The U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I., has run a series of war …..So why shouldn’t we take it serious and stop yelling shell game …
Mar 23, 2015 – TAGS: alaska arctic beaufort sea chukchi sea climate change environmental catastrophe … How the U.S. Navy Plans to War-Game the Arctic …
6 days ago – The attempt was a litany of broken equipment, poor planning, and inadequate engineering. … in drilling in the Alaskan Arctic is being provided by the people who, … us the worst offshore oil ship in history, the Deepwater Horizon spill. …A Tainted Dawn: The Great War (1792-1815) Book I by B. N. Peacock …
Jul 3, 2012 – U.S. News > Shell’s Arctic drilling: The environmental battle of our time …The oil company plans to begin exploratory drilling there, putting the area at deadly risk.… We’re on our way up to Alaska’s pristine waters with hundreds of … Rigid-hulled inflatable boats — often used by the U.S. Navy — will also be …
dailycaller.com/…/doe-advisers-warn-us-might-lose-arcti…The Daily Caller
Mar 30, 2015 – The U.S. needs to start drilling in the north pole to keep ahead of its …Putin on Friday pledged to support Royal Dutch Shell’s Russia expansion plans at a meeting with the … Pechora Seas and is expanding its naval and transportation fleet. …States should facilitate exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic …
csis.org/…/120117_Conley_…Center for Strategic and International Studies
the U.S. Navy’s “Arctic Roadmap” projects ice-free conditions for a portion of the Arcticby the … map for the Arctic,” Naval War College Review 63, no. … Alaska has contributed significantly to meeting U.S. demand with oil from the oil fields on the …Royal Dutch Shell has received preliminary approval from the Obama.
American servicemen inspecting a shell crater after the Japanese attack on Fort Stevens, Oregon …. 2.2.1 West Coast and Alaska; 2.2.2 Bombardment of Ellwood; 2.2.3 … The first naval battle during the war was fought on December 13, 1939 off the….. The Japanese constructed a plan early in the Pacific War to attack the …
May 13, 2015 – Shell isn’t active in the Canadian Arctic these days, but both proponents and critics say the U.S. plans have implications for Canada.
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/digital/pdf/articles/2013…/F-Conway.pdfby AAF Mission – Related articles
Nov 1, 2013 – constant danger, numbing cold, and adventurers planning to brave all three in … concerns: “I don’t worry about a war in the Arctic. . . . But I do worry … Shellhas …. The United States is responsible for SAR operations in Alaska and a …. The year 2014 may prove pivotal in the High North for the Navy’s. Arctic …
Jul 16, 2012 – Shell is planning to drill 70 miles north of Alaska to see whether 27 billion … For America, the stakes are huge: A chance to gain wealth and global … in on meetings at the Senate over the Arctic, attended a naval war game and …
cnsnews.com/…/obama-rejects-alaskan-oil-and-g…Cybercast News Service
Feb 5, 2015 – His reckless offshore oil and gas restrictions reduced Alaska’s ArcticOcean … site each in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and left us with the lowest number of … Obama Rejects Alaskan Oil and Gas as Putin Prepares for Arctic War …and shell corporation and the California-based Sea Change Foundation.
topics.nytimes.com/top/news/…/arctic…/index.htmlThe New York Times
Russia says it will sign treaty with United States and three other nations with Arctic …Editorial holds Royal Dutch Shell’s plan to drill for oil off the coast of Alaska …
After the war ended, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard developed the facilities to … Until the recent partnership with OSI, it was unclear how the local Alaska Native … small-scale fish processing with far reaching plans, including development of the … over the last few years with companies like Shell, Conoco Phillips and Statoil …
May 14, 2015 – The Obama administration has tentatively approved Shell’s plans to begin oil extraction off the Alaskan coast this summer. … Environmentalists warnArctic drilling will pose a risk to local wildlife and exacerbate climate … Matt Taibbi on the Journalist & Politician Cheerleaders for Iraq War, Then & Now.
www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=62199United States Navy
Aug 16, 2011 – The Navy released an Arctic environmental assessment and outlook Aug. … the oil exploration plan of Royal Dutch Shell for Alaska’s Beaufort Sea. … U.S. Naval War College to Conduct Fleet Arctic Operations Game 2011 …
Oct 10, 2014 – The company has a history of failure in the Arctic since it first got a federal … The ocean expanse north of Alaska where Shell wants to drill is the most popular … is angry and frustrated at BP’s 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill, … I also hope one of the engineering firms US Navy funds actually …
United States Coast Guard
The Arctic Ocean, in the northern region of the Arctic Circle, … operated in southernAlaska, the Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea … Shell conditional approval to begin drilling exploratory wells … Also, Russia has announced plans for …. during the ColdWar. … forcement, inspection and certification of ships and marine facilities …
http://www.adn.com/article/shells-biggest-regulatory-cha…Alaska Dispatch News
Jul 2, 2012 – Shell readies to roll dice on multibillion-dollar bet in Arctic Alaska … Shellofficials say plans to build the pipeline and the construction of massive at-sea … for theU.S. Navy — and whether to enhance or ease restrictions. … Lake, a world-class nesting ground for migrating waterfowl — a battle ground for …
Jan 30, 2015 – “A wave of public opinion is rising against Shell’s drilling plans, just …Over “500,000 people have already written to the [US] Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management in protest of Arctic …. Soros: US on the Brink of World War III With China… US Navy Destroyer to Enter Black Sea for ‘Peace and Stability’.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/…/energy-america-oil-drilling-…Fox News Channel
Apr 25, 2011 – Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to …That’s how much the U. S. Geological Survey believes is in the U.S. portion of theArctic Ocean. … Production on the North Slope of Alaska is declining at a rate of about…. Navy gunner whose crew fired first US shots of World War II laid to …
Federation of American Scientists
May 1, 2015 – Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region.… U.S. military forces, particularly the Navy and Coast Guard, …. January 2014 Implementation Plan for National Strategy for Arctic Region . …… the United States,Shell operates in 50 states as an oil and natural gas producer, gasoline …
Lucas Jackson / Courtesy Reuters U.S. Navy safety swimmers stand on the deck of the …. and this summer, they are finalizing plans for jointly responding to oil spills. …Shell has invested $5 billion to look for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, and the ….Whereas the United States closed its Cold War–era military base in Iceland in …
Apr 3, 2015 – JUDGE RULES NAVY UNDER-ESTIMATED SONAR DANGERS TO …near a beach 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Thursday, Jan. … forward with a plan that has a 75 percent chance of creating a major spill in the Chukchi Sea. We can’t trust Shell or any other oil company with America’s Arctic,” …
May 16, 2015 – Seafaring activists are planning a direct action off the coast of … about protecting all of Cascadia, the coastal region from Alaska to … With Shell’s Arcticdrilling rigs headed to Seattle, we have a unique … the “mosquito fleet” for fleets used at various times in US naval history, …. War Against All Puerto Ricans …
3 days ago – With the United States‘ Department of the Interior’s conditional approval ofShell’s proposed exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska, international attention has once again returned to the enormous … Proposals for the establishment of a naval base in Nanisivik, …. “Art of War” Roundtable …
http://www.star.nesdis.noaa….National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
STAR Home; > 4th Symposium: Impact of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and …the ongoing U.S. Coast Guard’s Arctic Requirements and Planning efforts, and … as the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) and the CNO Naval War … University of Alaska Fairbanks – International Arctic Research Center this link …
Apr 7, 2015 – Greenpeace activists who have boarded an oil rig to protest Arctic … Last week, the United States Department of the Interior approved Shell’s drilling lease for the Arctic. … Royal Dutch Shell has filed a complaint in federal court in Alaska to …the plan for the Chukchi Sea which is rich in marine mammal life.
5 days ago – Shell oil company under fire over its controversial exploration plans in …The rig is due to head to the waters off Alaska this summer after the … You hereby provide us with an irrevocable, unlimited, and global … A year after the military seized power in a bloodless coup, critics … War & Conflict, Asia, Pakistan …