The Beacon

Blog Tags: Alaska

Ted Danson Visits the Arctic

Oceana's Mike Levine and Susan Murray with board member Ted Danson. © Oceana

 Tomorrow Oceana board member Ted Danson will testify against offshore drilling in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska (more specifically, Lease sale 193). Danson, a long time ocean advocate, believes that the Arctic is not ready for offshore development. There is a lack of baseline science to determine if offshore drilling can be conducted safely in the region, and there is neither the infrastructure nor the response capability to respond to a large spill.

This past week Danson visited the Arctic community of Barrow, Alaska. Accompanied by Oceana’s Pacific Director Susan Murray, Mike LeVine and myself, Ted visited with Mayor Edward Itta of the North Slope Borough, Director Taqulik Hepa of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management, Chairman Harry Brower of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, and other officials. Oceana hosted a community meet-and-greet where Danson took the opportunity to meet and learn from coastal residents, while sharing his stories and connections to the ocean.


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Tall People, Big Mines and the Man Who Would Stop a Salmon Holocaust

Bristol Bay, Alaska. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

This is the first in a series of four guest posts by Paul Greenberg, author of the bestselling book, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food.

A few times in my life I have walked into a party and found myself in a crowd where I'm about as tall as the shortest woman in the room.

As a man who is perched safely above the national average for male height, I have come to take these anomalous parties not as sleights to my standing in the world, but rather as venues where I ought to pay careful attention. For, as so many studies have found, extreme height is linked to extreme wealth, power and influence. Find yourself in a room with very, very tall people, and it's likely some very important decisions could be made. 

And so it was this past Monday night, when Bob Gillam hosted an event for some of New York's tallest hoping to raise consciousness (and, yes, money) to stop "Pebble Mine" the biggest, most egregious onslaught against wild fish we have seen in the last quarter century. For those not aware of it, Pebble Mine is a proposed copper and gold mine that a group called "Anglo American" has put together at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. 


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Walruses Forced Ashore by Melting Sea Ice

As DailyKos and the New York Times reported yesterday, melting sea ice has forced more than 10,000 walruses ashore in the Alaskan Arctic. Normally they rest on ice floes in the summer, periodically diving for food.

And this isn’t the first time. In fact, this is the third time in the last four years that the walruses have alarmingly turned into landlubbers.

The future isn’t looking good for this ice-loving lumberer, unless we take action to stop climate change and protect the Arctic from further catastrophic warming.


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New Poll: 88% of Americans Want Science Before Drilling

Just in time for Secretary Salazar’s visit to the U.S. Arctic, today our colleagues in Alaska released the results of a new nationwide poll on offshore drilling. The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, shows that Americans overwhelmingly support a precautionary approach to offshore drilling. 

According to the poll, 88 percent of the American public thinks it is important for there to be a science-based approach to decision-making and for response capabilities to be in place before any drilling occurs, even if it slows the timeframe for oil drilling. 


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Good Work, Obama. Now Make it Permanent.

President Obama announced today that he plans to suspend Arctic offshore drilling, cancel lease sales in the western Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia, suspend activity on 33 exploratory wells and extend the moratorium on deepwater drilling for six months. 

Senior pollution campaign director Jackie Savitz had this to say about the announcement:

“President Obama has now seen first hand the impacts that offshore drilling can have on oceans and coastal economies. The actions taken today are just the first steps. We are relieved that Arctic drilling is off the table this summer. We continue to call for an end to all offshore drilling, on every coast,” said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director.


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Factsheet: Exxon Valdez and Long-term Recovery after a Spill

To read more, click here for a PDF version.

The Exxon Valdez is to date the worst oil spill to have occurred in US waters. It has been well studied and provided twenty years worth of information on how ecosystems recover from oil spills.


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Scientists Spot Rare Blue Whales in Alaska

From the Associated Press -- Scientists Spot Rare Blue Whales in Alaska:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Federal scientists have sighted a rare mammal in Alaska waters - endangered blue whales, the largest animal known to live on Earth.

The sighting by researchers on board a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel means the blue whale population may be getting healthier and expanding back to traditional territories.


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