Saturday, September 8, 2007

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, by Shell Oil, is upon us.

A letter by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, the Senior Attorney of the NRDC, just brought this to my attention. Here’s the content of his letter.

Dear NRDC Member,

As you read this, the Shell oil company may have already begun exploratory drilling off the spectacular coastline of the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge.

We simply cannot afford to fail – or we’ll be leaving the Arctic Refuge vulnerable to a catastrophic oil spill that could despoil the shores of our greatest wildlife sanctuary for generations to come.

In fact, it would take just one oil spill on the icebound Beaufort Sea that borders the Arctic Refuge to create a long-term toxic waste site – because the oil industry has no proven method for cleaning up oil in icy water!

Last month, NRDC President Frances Beincke and I wrote to alert you that the Bush Administration had already approved Shell’s dangerous plan for drilling in the Beaufort.

And as I write this, Shell’s icebreakers and drilling equipment are likely on the move.

A worst case spill in the Beaufort Sea sends shivers down the spine of anyone who knows the appalling record of toxic spills by Big Oil in the Arctic.

And make no mistake: an oil spill off the coast of the Arctic Refuge is all but assured. The Bush Administration’s own experts have predicted that drilling in the Beaufort will lead to at least one oil spill.

That spill would likely spread into the migratory routes of the endangered bowhead whale… blanket the shores of the Arctic Refuge where polar bears give birth… and impact hundreds of thousands of migratory birds.

The death toll of oil-soaked and poisoned whales, seals, polar bears and shore birds would be unimaginable.

With your help, we can win this case – because the Administration’s approval of Shell’s drilling is a brazen violation of our country’s environmental laws.

All we need is your backing.

So there, the check’s in the mail. I’m sending $30 to help out. If any of you are interested in helping with this cause or other fights for the environment, you can link to the website of the NRDC at NRDC: The Earth's Best Defense.

I’ve said before, as I’ll say again now: future generations many years from now are going to look back at us as if we were completely nuts for blasting through all these oil reserves. Well, they’re right. Many of us are nuts. Those of us who have no sense or desire for conservation, environmental stewardship, sustainability, or to seek a desire to implement auto technology and get away from our addiction to fossil fuels.

I like to think I exist in a different camp. As one prominent environmentalist recently said: “This is not just a scientific issue, this is a moral issue.”

If the tide was turning in a direction of upholding these ideals I hold so dear—the ones I just stated in the previous paragraph—then this blog wouldn’t exist. …but here I am, and I don’t plan on going away anytime soon. S

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