- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
UK lawmakers seek moratorium on Arctic drilling
Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) - International governments should seek a moratorium on offshore drilling in the Arctic amid concern an oil spill in the region could cause catastrophic environmental damage, British lawmakers said Thursday.
The Environmental Audit Committee of Britain’s House of Commons urged action to halt oil and gas drilling in the Arctic until new safeguards _ including vastly increased financial guarantees and universal standards on disaster response _ are put in place.
Legislators on the panel also called for an internationally recognized nature sanctuary to be created to protect at least part of the Arctic from energy exploration.
Caroline Lucas, a member of the committee and the only Green Party lawmaker at Britain's Parliament, said the panel’s findings came as “the race to carve up the Arctic is accelerating faster than our regulatory or technical capacity to manage it.”
“The Arctic oil rush is bringing unprecedented risks to the area, and it’s now clear that the consequences of any potential oil spill would be catastrophic,” she said.
Recommendations by the panel are not binding on Britain's government, and in response the country’s foreign ministry said only that it would consider the proposals.
Experts warned the panel that any blowout in the Arctic at the end of the summer drilling season could be disastrous, as the returning winter ice would likely severely hamper the response.
“We heard compelling evidence that if a blow-out occurred just before the dark Arctic winter returned it may not be possible to cap it until the following summer _ potentially leaving oil spewing out under the ice for six months or more with devastating consequences for wildlife,” said lawmaker Joan Walley, chairwoman of the committee.
In a report, legislators said that the fact Arctic drilling locations are remote means resources to manage accidents are likely to be difficult to access or unavailable. Because shorelines are sparsely populated, it would also be more difficult to detect evidence of a spill.
“The infrastructure to mount a big clean-up operation is simply not in place and conventional oil spill response techniques have not been proven to work in such severe conditions,” Walley said.
Legislators called on Britain to lobby the Arctic Council _ an intergovernmental forum of the eight Arctic nations, including the United States and Canada _ to craft a universal standard on disaster response.
The panel also suggested a “much higher, preferably unlimited, financial liability regime for oil and gas operations.”
Britain’s energy and climate change ministry said that, given the U.K.’s lack of “expertise or experience of Arctic issues,” nations in the region should take the lead.
Charles Emmerson, an energy expert at the London-based Chatham House think tank, said it was “extremely unlikely” that nations competing over Arctic resources would agree to a single regulatory framework.
Richard Steiner, an Alaska-based marine conservation consultant who gave evidence to the committee via video link, urged the eight Arctic coastal nations and the U.N. to adopt the report’s recommendations.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow