U.S. Not Ready for Arctic Oil Drilling, Say Officials

Publication: Agence France-Presse

Author: Karin Zeitvogel


02/07/2011 - The United States is ill-equipped to deal with a major oil catastrophe in Alaska, the Coast Guard admiral who led the US response to the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill and others warn.

Only one of the US Coast Guard's three ice breakers is operational and would be available to respond to a disaster off Alaska's northern coast, which is icebound for much of the year, retired admiral Thad Allen told reporters this week.

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The oil spill panel that Ulmer sat on blamed the accident on "systemic" failures in oil industry safety practices and weak enforcement of safety rules and warned that without reform a disaster like that in the Gulf of Mexico might happen again.

Drilling in Alaska would be in shallower water than the BP well, but challenges including harsh weather, ice floes and the fact that the closest Coast Guard base is hundreds of miles away would make rescue and clean-up operations very difficult, said Marilyn Heijman, director of the Pew Environment Group's offshore energy reform and US Arctic campaigns.

Read the full article U.S. Not Ready for Arctic Oil Drilling, Say Officials on Yahoo! News.

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