The work of a committee, the National Research Council has released a new report – 'Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment', which concludes that the the U.S. is far from ready to respond effectively to such an event.
U.S. Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait and west of the Canadian border encompass a vast area that is usually ice covered for much of the year, but is increasingly experiencing longer periods and larger areas of open water due to climate change.
Sparsely inhabited with a wide variety of ecosystems found nowhere else, this region is vulnerable to damage from human activities. As oil and gas, shipping, and tourism activities increase, the possibilities of an oil spill also increase. The NRC report seeks to answer the question: How can we best prepare to respond to such an event in this challenging environment?
The report suggests developing a long-term research agenda focused on oil spill mitigation in Arctic waters, investing in increased awareness of climatic conditions in the Arctic, and fostering cooperation with other Arctic states, Russia in particular, on oil spill response
Committee on Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment; Ocean Studies Board; Polar Research Board; Division of Life and Earth Studies; Marine Board; Transportation Research Board; National Research Council.
The report is available at: http://bit.ly/1he8DNt