Must-See Video: Oil And Ice Don’t Mix — The Risks Of Drilling In Alaska’s Arctic Ocean

By Kiley Kroh and Michael Conathan

As the decision looms whether to allow Shell Oil to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer, the Center for American Progress released a new video today examining our lack of preparedness to respond to an oil spill in the remote and untested region.  Whether the Department of the Interior approves offshore drilling activity in the Arctic Ocean this year or next, the Arctic is still dangerously deficient in infrastructure and scientific knowledge. In “Oil and Ice: The Risks of Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean,” U.S. Coast Guard Captain Gregory Saniel, Chief of Response says the thought of mustering a response to a major incident like an oil spill “keeps me up at night.”

As Shell waits for heavy sea ice to clear and the Coast Guard to certify its containment barge, the fact remains that this region has far fewer resources to contain an oil spill than did the Gulf of Mexico. Even with the Gulf’s warm water and weather, large population centers, and decades of research and drilling experience, oil flowed unabated for three months in 2010, wreaking economic havoc and devastating the environment. If drilling in the Arctic starts next year, these fundamental infrastructure challenges still must be addressed.  This video highlights the perspectives of those who depend on the Arctic Ocean for their livelihood, the concerns and challenges facing the Coast Guard charged with its protection, and the grave doubts of the scientific community about the lack of knowledge in this area.

Kiley Kroh is the Associate Director for  Ocean Communications and Michael Conathan is the Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress.

5 Responses to Must-See Video: Oil And Ice Don’t Mix — The Risks Of Drilling In Alaska’s Arctic Ocean

  1. bratisla says:

    no problem, since summer ice will soon be history … [/dark humor]

  2. Joan Savage says:

    Even with Think Progress’s recommended “investment in research and infrastructure,” we still “risk defiling” not only one, but more than “one of our great natural treasures.”

    One natural treasure at immediate risk is the Arctic biome. Is not a liveable atmosphere also a natural treasure? What about a fertile ocean? The atmosphere and ocean are at risk from continued fossil fuel combustion.

  3. Kaj Embren says:

    Read more about the Arctic and the Swedish Strategy for Arctic as chairman of the Arctic council at

  4. Tami Kennedy says:

    GOP Logic – Spills Create Jobs

  5. debi daniels says:

    with the meltdown still happening in japan, and reactors one two and three unapproachable for 20-30 years, with no. 2 still leaking into the ocean, we are already experiencing a grave situation for the ocean environment already. we weren’t prepared for BP. We werent prepared for Fukushima, and still are not prepared. If no. 4 falls, it could mean the end of the safe food and environment for the entire northern hemishpere… so say the scientists… we are definately NOT prepared for another disaster in the north. How about we clean up the mess we already have going? Get an international team to sandbag the three in meltdown… read meltdown danger dot com, or ene news or fairewinds for an education on this.