Barry the Barracuda reporting in here with breaking news…Shell Oil has done it again! The big oil monster, Shell OIL, is set to “Make it Happen” for Bowhead whales, if they keep it up. Extinction that is! The oil giant just filed another lawsuit against the Center for Biological Diversity and 13 other environmental groups who are trying to protect the Arctic from dangerous drilling. Jimminy Cricket, holy macaroni, and WTF!
My friends, Bowie the bowhead whale and Sally the Sea otter are devastated! They are trying to decide if they should move or stay and fight. Bowhead whales live exclusively in the Arctic at the surface of the ocean. It is also known as Greenland right whale or Arctic whale. American whalemen also called it the Steeple-top, Polar whale, or Russia or Russian whale. The bowhead is perhaps the longest-living mammal, and has the largest mouth of any animal.
Shell’s planned drilling is directly in the fall migration path of endangered bowhead whales and could block the whales from reaching an important feeding and resting area. Shell estimates that close to 5,600 migrating bowhead whales, almost half the population, could be exposed to sound and disturbance from the drilling and ice breaking that could cause them to change their behavior and avoid the feeding area. This could harm the population, particularly mothers and young calves, and could affect Alaska Native communities that rely on the bowhead whale and other species to sustain their subsistence way of life. I, of course told them to take a deep breath, the Center for Biologial Diversity has blocked every offshore drilling proposal in the Arctic since 2007. Shell knows how effective our friends at the Center are, so it’s trying to take them out with another preemptive attack.
I called my friend, Executive Director, Kierán Suckling at the Center for Biological Diversity and he said they will not be scared off by outrageous lawsuits. They are fighting on every front to stop Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic this summer. They have filed a legal challenge against air permits that would allow the company to do just that.
The pristine Arctic — home to the bowhead whales, polar bears, walruses and seals — is too fragile to turn into an oil-drilling industrial zone with pollution, oil spills and lasting devastation. Here is what infuriates me…the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) approved Shell’s risky drilling plan before ensuring the company had a realistic oil spill response plan. Shell’s current oil spill plan would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so dire for us ocean dwellers.
Shell claims that it will be able to clean up 95 percent of an oil spill with booms and skimmers if one were to occur in the Arctic’s remote, icy waters. Never mind that only 8 percent of the oil after the Exxon Valdez spill and only 3 percent of the oil after the Deepwater Horizon spill was captured and removed from the ocean using skimmers and booms. Never mind that 23 hours of darkness, 20-foot swells and widow-maker chunks of ice riding wave crests are par for the course in the Beaufort Sea. Yep, 95 percent, piece of cake. Come on, put down the wacky tobaccy and face reality.
But knowing Shell, they will be determined to drill. This latest lawsuit is meant to target the Center’s work to enforce laws protecting marine mammals like whales and seals from the devastating impacts of sound from drilling.
To add insult to injury, Shell is trying to have the center pay its legal fees, which will likely run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Money wasted in my opinion. Which could be better spent, protecting my friends, the bowhead whales.
I will keep you updated as I keep in touch with my friends trying to protect the Arctic and fight off Shell’s suits against the Center and our allies. If you are as unhappy and concerned about this as I am, please contact your state representative, the Center for Biological Diversity, Earth Justice, BOERME, santa or anyone who will listen and stand up for us marine creatures. You may even contact my human friend Danielle for how you can respond.
Until next time, Barry the Barracuda says “Just remember humans, you can decide where to buy your gas…or not!”
***The views, opinions and thoughts expressed here by Barry the Barracuda do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or thoughts of Danielle’s Dives or any of it’s affiliates. This post is strictly for informational purposes.”