Target: Judge William A. Fletcher and the members of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Goal: Thank the members of the three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for blocking Shell’s Arctic drilling plan off the Alaskan Coastline
In January of 2014, a three member panel from the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, lead by Judge William A. Fletcher, made an important environmental decision. The panel ruled that multin-national oil company Shell and any other companies that were making plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea, off the coast of Alaska, must reassess and resubmit their environmental analysis. This decision was made because the estimates of oil that can be recovered that were provided were based on an arbitrary number, and not on scientific fact.
Shell has been trying to drill in the Arctic Circle off the coast of Alaska for nearly 8 years now. They purchased the drilling rights to the Chukchi Sea in 2008 for nearly 2 billion dollars. Between 2008 and 2014, they have managed to drill only two wells, neither of which is fully complete. They have also had a number of equipment failures and have had a number of issues with the Alaskan Government concerning air pollution problems.
The environment and ecosystem is delicate and does not recover well from accidents that could happen from drill disasters. The Exxon-Valdez spill in 1989 has just reached its 25 year anniversary and the mammal populations in the Prince William Sound in Alaska have just finally recovered to the point where they are equal to pre-spill populations. And that disaster only spilled 750,000 barrels of crude oil into the water.
Imagine what would happen if an oil rig caught fire and started leaking oil directly from the drill heads? The Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico released 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the waters, nearly ten times the volume of the Exxon-Valdez spill. So we offer a heartfelt thank you to Judge William A. Fletcher and his constituents, and hope that they will continue to rule in the best interest of the Alaskan and Arctic ecosystems.
Dear Judge William A. Fletcher and colleagues,
We would like to offer you a heartfelt thank you for your part in blocking Shell’s plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska in 2014. This effort on your part has done a great service to the native wildlife of Alaska and the native tribes who survive though their traditional subsistence culture. These men and women catch their food and make their livings on the ice, and thanks to you they can continue to do so without the risk of crude oil leaking into their ecosystem and destroying their way of life.
Thank you for your part in making sure that these untouched wildernesses are kept safe from the clutches of companies like Shell, so that generations to come will have a chance to see their untamed beauty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Public Domain (NOAA)