Tag Archives: Chukchi Sea

The regulation of Arctic Ocean drilling, with implications for the Beartooth Front

As President Obama heads off to Alaska this week, he has focused on climate change. Alaska is suffering greater effects of global warming than any other state in the United States.

His presence there highlights recent conflicts between the Administration and environmentalists over drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Shell was awarded a permit this month to drill two exploratory wells there. The potential benefits are great because the area contains 20% of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves, but the dangers of a spill in such a remote and inaccessible area are frightening.

Obama justified the decision in his weekly address by saying that, despite our progress in moving to renewable energy, we need to continue to drill for fossil fuels. Given that, it is better we find domestic sources than foreign ones, and the regulation put on Arctic drilling makes the possibility of a spill very small.

In a sense, we face similar choices along the Beartooth Front, where drilling is allowed, but the environmental risk is great. Continue reading

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