Former Obama aides oppose Arctic drilling

Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Two former Obama administration aides say it is unsafe to drill for oil in the Arctic and call on the While House to reverse course on its policy for the area.

The opinion piece written by Carol Browner, President Barack Obama's former climate adviser, and the head of his 2009 transition team, John Podesta, could have an adverse impact on Royal Dutch Shell, which has spent billions of dollars in the past several years pushing for access to Arctic oil reserves, The Guardian reported Saturday

"Following a series of mishaps and errors, as well as overwhelming weather conditions, it has become clear that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic ocean," Browner and Podesta argue in the op-ed published by Bloomberg News.

"Developers and Barack Obama's administration assured us these operations would be safe, thanks to strict oversight and new technology. Now it seems that optimism was misplaced."

The influential duo's opinion piece comes as the Obama administration this month began to review Shell's plans for the Arctic and after a string of equipment, safety and environmental problems.

Michael LeVine, an attorney with the ocean conservation group Oceana, said the article would be taken seriously, given the status of its authors, who are now associated with the liberal think-tank Center for American Progress.

"The messengers are what make this particular op-ed important," LeVine said.

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