Today American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) announced new company-wide policy, which rules out providing insurance and investment to “any new Arctic energy exploration,” among other climate commitments. With this announcement, AIG is the first American company among a growing list of international insurance companies to publicly issue a policy ruling out new energy exploration projects in the Arctic.
We got another one. On Monday evening, Bank of America said that it will no longer finance fossil fuel exploration in the Arctic, joining Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Wells Fargo, and CitiBank, which all announced similar policies this year. That means no major U.S. bank will fund oil and gas production in the region anymore. The news follows years of public pressure from climate organizers for companies to stop enabling Arctic drilling. The movement heated up since last fall when a coalition launched Stop the Money Pipeline, a campaign to call out Wall Street firms’ role in particular.
The world’s top bank to finance fracked oil and gas will no longer fund for oil and gas projects in the Arctic. Wells Fargo recently updated its environment policy to prohibit Arctic drilling and now joins Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase along with several other global banks. The bank supports the “principles of the Paris Agreement” and believes that “policy action is essential to make meaningful progress against the Agreement’s goal,” therefore will “forego participation in any project-specific transaction in the region,” including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the policy stated. “Wells Fargo’s decision to rule out funding for Arctic drilling is clear evidence that investing in the destruction of the Arctic Refuge would be toxic to any company involved,” Ben Cushing, Sierra Club campaign representative, said.
If there is one place that has most felt the Trump administration's push to rapidly expand fossil fuel development, it might be Nuiqsut, a small village nestled on Alaska's North Slope. The village has become almost entirely surrounded by oil and gas drilling over the past three decades, and the Trump administration has been aggressively pushing for more drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, just west of the village, and off the coast to the north.
The US and its allies have been making a big deal about Russia’s Arctic interests for over the past decade since the country planted its flag under the North Pole in 2007, which was Moscow’s dramatic way of asserting its UN-submitted claims to the region on the basis that the Siberian-originating undersea Lomonosov Ridge’s extension all the way to that point makes it Russian territory. The Arctic is poised to become increasingly important in world affairs over the coming decades because the progressive melting of polar ice is allowing for the year-round establishment of the Northern Sea Route between Western and Eastern Eurasia that will cut traditional shipping times in half.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s reversal of a ban on petroleum drilling in most of the Arctic Ocean and Atlantic underwater canyons can move forward. Federal court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled Monday in Anchorage, Alaska, that environmental groups can sue to keep the ban in place. Former President Barack Obama withdrew Arctic waters under provisions of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Obama also banned exploration in 5,937 square miles (15,377 square kilometers) of Atlantic Ocean canyon complexes. Environmental groups say presidents can permanently withdraw areas but the law makes no provision to reopen areas.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could soon be open to drilling, thanks to the tax bill passed by Congress this week, but one key question remains: Once oil companies can drill in the refuge, will they jump at the chance? A provision tucked into the Republican tax overhaul calls for opening the refuge's coastal plain, a 1.5 million acre stretch of land that did not share the refuge's protected status. Republicans have fought for decades to allow drilling there. But those hoping that oil companies will flock to the refuge—and that revenues raised can help offset some of the deficit created by the tax bill—might be sorely disappointed, said Bud Coote, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center.
By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News - ANCHORAGE, Alaska—In the energy industry, Hilcorp has built a reputation for fast growth, big profits and making people rich. This 28-year-old Houston-based company has kept a low public profile while becoming one of the top five privately held oil and gas producers in the United States. Founder Jeffery Hildebrand has become a billionaire, rising up the ranks of the hundred richest Americans. Employees, who got six-figure bonuses for meeting output goals, rave online about their employer, which Fortune magazine has lauded as one of the 100 best companies to work for five years in a row. In regulatory circles, however, and among environmentalists, Hilcorp has become known for different reasons. As the company has bought up older oil and gas fields from bigger companies, a business strategy known as "acquire and exploit," it has amassed a troubling safety and environmental track record in Alaska and several other states. As soon as the company started working in Alaska in April 2012, it began to accumulate violations. By October 2015, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC), the main industry regulator in the state...
By Staff of Earth Justice - The groups, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society, represented by attorneys at Earthjustice and Natural Resources Defense Council, issued the following joint statement: “President Trump’s April 28 executive order exceeds his constitutional and statutory authority and violates federal law. Responding to a national groundswell of opposition to expanded offshore drilling, President Obama permanently ended oil and gas leasing in most of the Arctic Ocean and key parts of the Atlantic Ocean in December, using his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). Until Trump, no president has ever tried to reverse a permanent withdrawal made under OCSLA, which does not authorize such a reversal. Trump’s executive order could open up more than 120 million acres of ocean territory to the oil and gas industry, affecting 98 percent of federal Arctic Ocean waters and 31 biologically rich deepwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News. By writing a five-year plan with no leases for oil drilling in the Alaskan Arctic, President Obama—and market forces—provide roadblocks for Trump to change. No new offshore oil and gas leases will be offered in the Alaskan Arctic through 2022, according to a new five-year plan for offshore drilling released Friday by the Obama administration. President-elect Donald Trump could overturn the ban, but that could take years and may not draw much industry interest if oil prices stay low. The Interior Department's five-year plan laid out all of the proposed auctions for drilling rights on the outer continental shelf of the United States. It allowed for no leases between 2017 and 2022 in the Beaufort or Chukchi seas, Arctic waters north and west of Alaska.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams - Taking a page from young people in the United States and elsewhere who are standing up for their right to healthy environment, Norwegian youth on Monday filed suitagainst their country's government for expanding Arctic oil drilling despite increasingly dire warnings about the impact such activity is having on the planet's climate. The plaintiffs, which include Greenpeace Norway and the nation's largest youth-led organization, Nature and Youth,
By Jason Schwartz for Green Peace - Now that Spanish oil company Repsol has relinquished the last of its 93 leases in the Chukchi Sea, only one leaseholder is left — Shell. Why the company is holding onto a single lease after losing billions of dollars and any reputation for competence it might have had is anybody’s guess. But the fact remains: drilling in the Arctic is dangerous and expensive for oil companies, catastrophic for the environment, and unwelcome by the communities who live there.
By John Servais for Northwest Citizen. Merry Christmas and Seasons' Greetings. The Grinch has left the building. We can all breath a bit easier. The huge Shell Oil floating drill platform is - as I write this - going west out the Straits of Georgia, leaving us for good at a speed of 11 mph. Bye bye. The Port Angeles newspaper, the Peninsula Daily News, has been watching and reporting on the oil rig for the past week and you can read the full story there. There are links to the specific articles below this post. The photo above shows actually two vessels - the yellow legged Shell drilling rig Polar Pioneer that normally floats and is towed by tugs - and the Dockwise Vanguard, one of the largest vessels in the world that is carrying the drilling rig.
By Timothy Cama for The Hill - The Obama administration took a number of actions Friday to restrict future offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The Interior Department is canceling two lease sales it had planned over the next year and a half for Arctic drilling rights and denying two oil companies’ requests to extend the time on leases that they currently hold. The decision comes weeks after Royal Dutch Shell pulled out of the Arctic for the foreseeable future, saying the little oil it found in this summer’s drilling is not worth the cost. The administration said its decisions are based on the current oil markets and low interest in Arctic drilling. But it’s also a significant action to crack down on one of the most controversial types of offshore oil and gas drilling that has environmentalists fired up in opposition.
By Brian C. Black in The Conversation - After billions of dollars invested over several years, Royal Dutch Shell said September 28 it would end oil exploration offshore Alaska after “disappointing” results. But industry efforts to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic are unlikely to end with Shell’s decision to abandon the Chukchi Sea. Indeed, momentum to exploit fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic has been building for decades. This week, in fact, political and industry leaders will converge on Fairbanks, Alaska for the 2015 Arctic Energy Summit, where they will consider options and opportunities for energy development, despite some of the lowest gasoline prices in years and a glut of natural gas in the US. The trends pushing for oil and gas in the Arctic run counter to the efforts of a growing number of advocates who argue some fossil fuel resources need to remain untapped to slow the rate of carbon emissions.