EJToday: Top Headlines
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"As Royal Dutch Shell PLC seeks to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's northern waters, the Arctic sea ice is melting at a record pace, breaking the record low-ice levels set in 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The one big exception, however, is the Chukchi Sea, where Shell is hoping to explore for oil this summer."
"Two Canadian biologists have reported sighting a handful of grizzly bears and hybrid grizzly/polar bears at unusually high latitudes in the Arctic, indicating that the interbreeding of the two bear species is becoming more common as the climate warms and grizzlies venture farther north."
"Shell is scaling back plans to drill up to five wells in Arctic waters this summer amid a series of setbacks, including stubborn sea ice still clinging to Alaska’s shores and delays in construction of an emergency oil spill containment barge."
"WHITEHORSE, Yukon Territory — In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the Army Corps of Engineers an assignment: Build a road from British Columbia across the Yukon to Alaska — in eight months, before winter sets in."
"BARROW, Alaska — When the United States Coast Guard arrived in this remote corner of the Arctic this month to begin its biggest patrol presence in the waters north of Alaska, only one helicopter hangar was available for rent, and it was not, to put it mildly, the Ritz."
"SEATTLE--The vessel designated to act as a crucial oil spill containment system in Arctic waters has obtained Coast Guard approval to meet less rigorous weather standards than originally proposed. But, less than two weeks before drilling off Alaska's northern coast is due to begin, a series of troubling construction delays have left the Arctic Challenger without federal certification."
"SEATTLE — A unique ice-class barge designed to clean up any oil spills that might result from Shell Alaska’s upcoming operations in the Arctic Ocean has so far failed to acquire final U.S. Coast Guard certification. Engineers from the oil company say it's no longer appropriate to require them to meet the rigorous weather standards originally proposed."
"Anchorage is one of the few North American cities that depend on a glacier for most of their drinking water. The Eklutna glacier also provides some of the city's electricity, through hydro power. So a team of researchers is working to answer a very important question: How long will the glacier's water supply last?"
"Environmental advocates readied for battle in Congress this week over what they maintain is an erosion of protections for the biggest, oldest trees in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, often called the crown jewel of the U.S. forest system."
"The remote Aleutian site known for two centuries as Rat Island, notorious as the first spot in Alaska despoiled by rats, has a new, more dignified name to celebrate its hard-won rodent-free status - but it may be harder for some to pronounce."
President Obama's preoccupation with Shell's proposal to drill for oil in the offshore Arctic -- even after the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico -- appears to signal that it will be inevitable, barring a major legal challenge.
"Large stretches of salmon-spawning streams and thousands of acres of wetlands would be wiped out if a large-scale mining project were to be built in southwestern Alaska's copper-rich Bristol Bay region, according to a report issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency."
"Fearing numerous villages may be at risk of toxic releases as landfills erode and thawing permafrost undercuts tank farms, state environmental managers have embarked on a massive effort to address the growing potential for pollution faced by some 100 communities across Alaska."
"Shell Oil plans to explore for petroleum off Alaska's north coast this summer. The native people of Alaska have a big stake in both oil revenue and environmental protection. That conflict has played out in recent trips by Inupiats to Washington, D.C., to argue their case."
"After one of the biggest environmental fights in decades, exploratory drilling is expected to begin in July off the state's north coast. The company has plans in case of a spill; opponents say normal operations will still release damaging chemicals."