Government documents: Arctic oil spill all but impossible to clear up

Posted by jamess — 24 May 2011 at 8:55am - Comments
The Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza intercept Cairn Energy's controversial Arct
All rights reserved. Credit: © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace
The Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza intercept Cairn Energy's controversial Arctic rig

We obtained a series of documents [download part one and part two, both pdfs] today under a Freedom of Information request that show the government is saying privately what we've been saying publicly: an Arctic oil spill would be all but impossible to clear up.

In an email exchange, government officials told the energy secretary Chris Huhne: "It is difficult to get assistance in case of pollution problems in such areas, and near impossible to make good damage caused."

Another document reports that "considerable challenges remain. The most significant of these is environmental - and the possibility of a second Gulf of Mexico type event ... The Arctic ecosystem is particularly vulnerable, and emergency responses would be slower and harder than in the Gulf of Mexico due to the area's remoteness and the difficulty of operating in sub-zero temperatures."

It seems that everyone is agreed. Arctic drilling is an outrageous and unnecessary gamble that has to stop.

Download part one and part two of the FOI documents.

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