America's Plan to Drill for Oil in the Arctic

Under a new energy proposal from the Obama administration, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts would remain off-limits to further oil drilling schemes but the Arctic would be opened up.

What's the Latest Development?


Within the next few years, the U.S. plans to lease its territory near the Arctic to energy companies that will begin to explore and drill for oil. The proposal, released by the Department of the Interior, breaks with President Bush's plan to explore for wells off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. "Most of the new leases would be offered in the Gulf of Mexico, which accounts for more than a quarter of the nation's domestic oil production." Plans to drill in the mid- and southern Atlantic coast were scrapped after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

What's the Big Idea?

The prospect of opening the Arctic for drilling disquiets environmentalists who see both a symptom of global warming, as melting ice opens new territory, and reckless environmental policy. The weather conditions in the Arctic are formidableextremely cold temperatures, rough seas and a dark winterwhich makes drilling far harder and cleaning an oil spill more than daunting. Athan Manuel of the Sierra Club said: "Spill prevention, containment and response systems are not equipped to work in challenging Arctic conditions."

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Videos
  • Prejudice is typically perpetrated against 'the other', i.e. a group outside our own.
  • But ageism is prejudice against ourselves — at least, the people we will (hopefully!) become.
  • Different generations needs to cooperate now more than ever to solve global problems.


Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less