Despite his presidency prioritising climate change, Barack Obama has given Shell the go ahead to drill for oil and in the Artic Ocean. Despite widespread protests, including 13 Greenpeace activists hanging off a bridge in Portland, Oregon two weeks ago to stop a US icebreaker from making its way towards Alaska to riskily explore for oil in Arctic seas.
Community resistance against Shell’s plans to secure new oil reserves in the Arctic was also high. What is more, political peers are also resisting President Obama’s misguided move to destroy the pristine Arctic. Two days ago, Democratic Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton defied Obama’s ecological destructive folly and tweeted “The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know, it's not worth the risk of drilling. –H”.
Environmentalists immediately praised Clinton’s decision to oppose drilling in the fragile biome. Commentators have equated this move to be indicative that Clinton will be on the left in environmental policy.
Obama’s approval of Shell’s Arctic drilling is bold and short-sighted since the Arctic’s delicate ecosystem is particularly vulnerable to an oil spill and the consequences of an accident would have a profound effect on the environment and local fisheries. The presence of moving sea ice severely increase the risks of oil drilling, complicate logistics, and present unparalleled difficulties for any clean-up operation.
The Obama administration has granted Royal Dutch Shell final approval to resume drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012 despite widespread protests from environmental groups. Shell first obtained drilling permits in the Arctic during the George W. Bush administration, but drilling stopped in 2012 after a series of mishaps. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "’ll also be the first American president to visit the Alaskan Arctic, where our fellow Americans have already seen their communities devastated by melting ice and rising oceans, the impact on marine life. We’re going to talk about what the world needs to do together to prevent the worst impacts of climate change before it’s too late."