Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
JHathaway2 As the attendees of the International Arctic Fisheries Symposium get down to work on day two of a gathering that will carefully analyze the possibilities for commercial fisheries in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, the Obama administration has approved Shell Oil's plan for exploration and drilling in the Beaufort.
Natives and environmentalists are raising concerns, as well they should, that the proper precautions are not in place in the event of a spill.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, "Measures used to contain oil in open water were ineffective in tests off Alaska's coast. Just getting equipment to a catastrophic spill in the Beaufort, which has few support facilities and some of the worst weather and light conditions in the world, would be challenging."
Shell's defense is that they continue to make advances in spill prevention response and technology. While I applaud them for ongoing R&D success, I'm appalled that they would be permitted to drill in any location without a safety net.
What is the point of tiptoeing our way to sustainable Arctic fisheries if the federal government is going to allow another industry to go rogue with potentially disastrous results?
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