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Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill 95

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "As eagerness to explore the Arctic's oil and gas resources grows, the threat of a major Arctic oil spill looms ever larger—and the United States has a lot of work to do to prepare for that inevitability, a panel convened by the National Research Council (NRC) declares in a report released yesterday. The committee, made up of members of academia and industry, recommended beefing up forecasting systems for ocean and ice conditions, infrastructure for supply chains for people and equipment to respond, field research on the behavior of oil in the Arctic environment, and other strategies to prepare for a significant spill in the harsh conditions of the Arctic." Shortest version: no one has any idea how any spill cleanup techniques would work in the arctic environment.
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Panel Says U.S. Not Ready For Inevitable Arctic Oil Spill

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  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:00PM (#46837327) Journal

    The US may not be prepared, but they can take a note from Australia's efforts [] when they needed to clean oil spills off penguins.

  • by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:06PM (#46837355) Homepage
    Retired Mobil Oil exec Louis Allstadt recently said that fracking can't be done safely with current technology. "Making fracking safe is simply not possible, not with the current technology, or with the inadequate regulations being proposed," said Allstadt, retired executive vice president of Mobil. [] This is similar to the situation with arctic drilling, but for somewhat different reasons. To do it right would require too much equipment and too many safety procedures to be cost effective. They would need to do the work quick and dirty to make a good profit. That is precisely what is happening with fracking, where gas companies have been exempted from the clean water act and other environmental protections. If they were required to comply, they couldn't afford to extract the gas. That explains the rush to frack, before the sweetheart deal is over.
    • That explains the rush to frack, before the sweetheart deal is over.

      There's elections coming up. Vote out the old bums, and vote in some new ones. If you can make the alternatives even sweeter for them, they'll show up at your door asking what they can do for you. At this point though, I still don't know what greases a palm better than oil.

    • One of the restraining forces to arctic oil exploration and drilling is actually the shale gas depressing energy prices to the point where it is, relatively, not worth the investment to go north. If the shale gas boom collapses, then it will be profitable to get the oil and we'll see more projects happening, but there will be no fast and dirty about it. There is simply no infrastructure to facilitate anything but massive long-term projects which can afford to build that out - not just to run an operation, b
  • We've burned so much oil that we've melted the arctic, so we can get to more oil to burn, and we're worried about what happens if we spill a little bit of it instead of burning all of it.
  • There are techniques/tools that are available to clean up spills however I don't think that anybody is truly prepared for a large scale oil spill anywhere on Earth.

  • Oh, she'll take it.
  • Plenty of clues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpaceLifeForm ( 228190 ) on Thursday April 24, 2014 @08:51PM (#46837615)
    Exxon Valdez []

    Now, you extrapolate taking into consideration a more remote area with even worse access conditions, and the colder temperatures.

    An extreme environmental disaster will be the result.

    • First, there is no such thing as eagerness to tap the Arctic, so I have no idea why this article exists; it's a big troll. The TAPS pipeline has had declining volumes [] for decades. There's been talk (for years) of a gas pipeline but it's pretty much not going to happen, for a number of reasons that no one really gives a shit about.

      Second, I'm from Valdez, Alaska. I was there for the spill, and for about twenty years afterwards. The long-term environmental impact is practically nil. Fish stocks recovered quic

      • Another Alaskan here (from SE) - just wanted to point out that the most popular bumper sticker in the state is a small black square that says "Cut, Kill, Dig, Drill". In those four words are the summation of the pretty much the entire of Alaska's ethos.....

  • Panel says the average human being is not ready for the inevitable collision with a moving vehicle.

  • >> And if an emergency happens, there’s no infrastructure in place—no consistent U.S. Coast Guard presence...

    Interesting. Related article covers Canada's and Russia's claims in the same area - the "Lomonozov Ridge" []

  • ...ok this is probably a stupid question, but why would such a spill be the US's responsibility any more than say, a spill off Madagascar?

    Yes, certainly, if it's within the small share of US waters off Alaska, but if you look at territorial claims on the arctic it's a relatively small sliver that the US even optimistically claims. A far, far larger share of arctic waters would be the responsibility of Canada, Russia, and/or Norway - let them sort it out.

    • That's just ignorant. We all live on the same little Blue Planet, not separate Planets, as some would ignorantly wish. The responsibility rests with all Humans.

      • But you're saying the EXACT opposite.
        You're saying "we all live on the same planet, it's all our responsibility...unless there's an accident. In THAT case, it's America's responsibility."

        Which is hypocrisy, I believe.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.