Drilling for oil in the Chukchi Sea, off the northwest coast of Alaska, is fraught with special risks. If an oil spill were to occur—like the disaster off the Gulf Coast, for example—repairing the well could only take place between mid-summer to December. In the meantime, "ice would likely freeze over before the well was fully repaired, letting crude oil gush out for half a year or more until the ice thawed again and the leak could finally be fixed and plugged up." The plan B Shell has prepared, a "capping stack" that would cork the well in case of a spill, has yet to be fully tested. [Mother Jones]
"I'm blocking Shell's Arctic drillship because I believe passionately that renewable energy is the way of the future," Lawless told Greenpeace while aboard.
The mother of three also shared with Mother Jones that she's doing it for her kids.
"...her "sole biological reason for being on this planet" is to ensure those boys can flourish. "They can't do that in a filthy, degraded environment," she said. "We need to stand up while we still can." She's worried that even if Shell's fleet makes it to Alaska and never blows a single valve, it'll still pump tens of thousands of tons of pollution into Arctic skies, and global warming from the greenhouse gases and black carbon released by the fleet will melt off even more snow and ice in the polar regions. "Deep-sea oil drilling is bad enough, but venturing into the Arctic, one of the most magical places on the planet, is going too far," she said.
Lawless and six Greenpeace activists have now been occupying the rig for 25 hours. You can follow their progress on Twitter under #savethearctic.
You can follow Sydney Brownstone on Twitter @sydbrownstone