Tag Archives: alaska

ConocoPhillips to Use Drones in Alaska

26 Aug

by Ryan Koronowski / Think Progress

Credit: (AP Photo/University of Alaska Geophysical Institute, David Giessel)

Credit: (AP Photo/University of Alaska Geophysical Institute, David Giessel)

The FAA issued an approval in July that paved the way for a “major energy company” to fly unmanned drones in U.S. airspace. Yesterday it became clear which corporation would be using drones to aid its Alaskan oil drilling efforts: ConocoPhillips.

This marks the first time a private company has received permission to fly “unmanned aircraft systems,” UAS — or drones — in America for non-experimental purposes.

“Until now, obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate — which specifically excludes commercial operations — was the only way the private sector could operate UAS in the nation’s airspace,” the FAA announced last month. FAA hailed the move as “a milestone that will lead to the first approved commercial UAS operations later this summer.”

“A major energy company plans to fly the ScanEagle off the Alaska coast in international waters starting in August.”

That “major energy company” is ConocoPhillips, as reported by Petroleum News.

AeroVironment, one of the two companies that manufacture the drones approved for use by ConocoPhillips, hailed the approval at the time: “This marks the first time the FAA has approved a hand-launched unmanned aircraft system for commercial missions.”

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Pro-mining Forces Pushing EPA to Approve Dangerous Pebble Mine

17 Jun

by Kate Sheppard / Mother Jones

photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Last month, I reported on the potential environmental threats posed by the massive proposed gold and copper mine in Alaska. The EPA conducted a watershed analysis, released in April, that showed that the mine would endanger rivers and the Bristol Bay, as well as the region’s salmon fishery. The EPA extended the comment period through the end of June, allowing more time for the public to weigh in.

A number of organizations, both pro- and anti-Pebble, had circulated mass mailings asking supporters to comment. You’ve seen the type; they’re form letters that people can sign onto via email. As of Friday, pro-mining groups had generated 118,294 comments from those mass mailings. But 117,401 of those comments—or 99.25 percent—came from a single group called Resourceful Earth. Here’s a sample of one of its letters:

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America’s First ‘Climate Refugees’

20 May

Cross Posted from NPR

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Climate change is a stark reality in America’s northernmost state. Nearly 90 percent of native Alaskan villages are on the coast, where dramatic erosion and floods have become a part of daily life.

Perched on the Ninglick River on the west coast of the state, the tiny town of Newtok may be the state’s most vulnerable village. About 350 people live there, nearly all of them Yupik Eskimos. But the Ninglick is rapidly rising due to ice melt, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the highest point in the town — a school — could be underwater by 2017.

Suzanne Goldenberg, a U.S. environmental correspondent for The Guardian, spent time in Newtok and this week on the plight of its residents, whom she calls America’s first climate refugees. She told weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden that the rising river poses the greatest risk.

“The river is basically stealing the land out from underneath the village,” she says. “Every year during the storm season, that river can take away 20, 30, [even] up to 300 feet a year. … It just rips it off the land, away from the village in these terrifying storms.”

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Showdown at Shell! Extreme Energy Development vs Indigenous Peoples

19 Apr
 Help a delegation of First Nations and Alaska Natives to attend Shell AGM in the Hague, Netherlands to stop extreme energy development on their homelands


Help a delegation of First Nations and Alaska Natives to attend Shell AGM in the Hague, Netherlands to stop extreme energy development on their homelands

Help send an Indigenous delegation to the Shell AGM

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has joined forces with the UK Tar Sands Network and the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign to attend the Shell Annual General Shareholder Meeting in the Hague, Netherlands this May to send a message to Shell executives and shareholders that enough is enough.

Shell’s Extreme Energy projects are the “bottom of the barrel” kind of oil and gas projects. Many of the last pristine areas on earth are within Indigenous lands. Extreme energy includes fracking, tar sands, and deep sea off-shore drilling. Indigenous Peoples bear the brunt of extreme energy development through loss of land, clean water, and clean air. Many still live sustainably off the land. Continue reading

13 Spills in 30 Days

12 Apr

From TckTckTck

Moving oil is a dirty business, and never has that been more clear than this past month. Since March 11, the global oil industry has had 13 spills on three continents. In North and South America alone, they’ve spilled more than a million gallons of oil and toxic chemicals – enough to fill two olympic-sized swimming pools.

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Salmon First! Action Camp Against Mining in Alaska

17 Aug

During the weekend of September 14-16, Castle Mountain Coalition, the Alaska Action Center, and partner organizations will be sponsoring the first annual Alaska Mining Action Camp. The event will be held at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) on Farm Loop Road outside of Palmer, Alaska.

We have invited a number of activists, organizers, trainers, and community members who are involved in the movement to abolish mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. We will hear about the impacts of large scale surface mining from those who live with it every day. We will learn about community organizing and resistance from those involved in a struggle against King Coal that dates back over one hundred years. The camp will consist of workshops, activities, entertainment, and discussion. The focus will be on community organizing, building solidarity across cultural and social divides Continue reading

Obama Vows to Increase Oil Production in US: Drill Baby Drill

14 May

by the Earth First! Journal Collective

Heads up Gulf coasters and Alaskans, Obama wants more of what is killing you and the ecosystems that would sustain you.

In his weekly radio address this week, President Obama announced he will set into motions steps to  “increase safe and responsible oil production here at home.”

Obama admitted that U.S. oil production last year was at its highest level since 2003 and said: “I believe we should expand oil production in America…”

This is how he says he’ll do it:

-Directing the Department of the Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

-Creating a new interagency group to streamline Alaska drilling permits. [ed. note, streamline usually means cutting oversight]

-Expediting evaluations of oil and gas in the mid- and south-Atlantic.

-Extending leases in Gulf of Mexico areas affected by last year’s temporary moratorium after the BP oil spill. [well, most everything in that part of the Gulf is already dead right?]

Despite the millions of gallons of “revenue” and “production” lost from the BP disaster (or perhaps because of the lack of oversight that led to the spill in the first place), US oil production actually increased from 4.95 million barrels per day in 2008 to 5.36 million in 2009 and 5.5 million in 2010.