Lokal modstand mod stop for olieudvinding

Få dage før jul annoncerede USA’s præsident, Barack Obama, og Canada’s premierminister Justin Trudeau et stop for olie- og gasudvinding i de arktiske havområder. Et tiltag, der vakte jubel over store dele af verden. Dog ikke hos de lokale politikere i de berørte arktiske egne.

Obama bruger den såkaldte “1953 Outer Continental Shelf Land Act” til at udelukke hele Chukchi-havet og størstedelen af Beauforthavet nord for Alaska fra olie- og gasudvinding. Kun et lille område af Beauforthavet langs Alaskas kyst bliver ikke omfattet af forbuddet, som USA’s kommende præsident, Donald Trump, og fremtidige præsidenter får svært ved at lave om. I Canada skal Justin Trudeaus beslutning op til genovervejelse hvert femte år.

Bedrager befolkningen
Beslutningen møder ikke just begejstring hos Alaskas repræsentanter i Senatet og Repræsentanternes Hus i Washington D.C.

“Hell-bent on locking away our resources and suffocating our already weakened economy, President Obama is one step closer to solidifying his place next to Jimmy Carter as Alaska’s worst nightmare,” Young said in a statement Tuesday. Young called the decision, in the waning days of the administration, a “cowardly move by a lame-duck President. I’ve been adamant with this administration; Alaska is not and should not be used as the poster child for a pandering environmental agenda,” siger Alaska’s republikanske kongresmand Don Young til Alaska Dispatch News.

Den republikanske senator fra Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, slår samme toner an:

“The only thing more shocking than this reckless, shortsighted, last-minute gift to the extreme environmental agenda is that President Obama had the nerve to claim he is doing Alaska a favor.”

Murkowskis senatorkollega fra Alaska, republikaneren Dan Sullivan, beskylder Obama for at bedrage befolkningen i Alaska:

“Make no mistake — the president betrayed Alaskans today — especially those living in the Arctic — who were not consulted, and instead gave one final Christmas gift to coastal environmental elites.”

Ikke taget med på råd
Store dele af de canadiske arktiske have ligger i Nunavut-regionen. Her kalder lederen af regionsstyret, Peter Taptuna, Trudeaus beslutning for en “øjebliks indskydelse”, som ikke tager hensyn til at Nunavut er den mindst udviklede region i Canada, hvor Taptuna og hans regering arbejder på at udvikle regionens skrøbelige økonomi.

“Vi kommer til at bo her og vi kommer til at blive begravet her,” siger Peter Taptuna til Nunatsiaq Online.

Han understreger, at Nunavut slet ikke blev taget med på råd af Trudeau-regeringen i Ottawa før Trudeau og Obama gav hinanden håndslag på aftalen ved et møde i Washington D.C. tirsdag i sidste uge i forbindelse med de to landes såkaldte “Arctic leadership model”-samarbejde.

En strategisk tilbagetrækning
Fra flere andre sider mødte Obama og Trudeaus beslutning heller ikke just opbakning. En af dem, der udtrykte størst modstand mod beslutningen, var General Joseph Ralston, der er Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Europe og Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Han sagde i en udtalelse:

“I am deeply concerned by today’s announcement taking steps to permanently remove Arctic waters from potential development through executive action. Not only does today’s move run counter to our national security interests in the region, it significantly sets back our ability to encourage responsible economic development and infrastructure, as well as our military’s ability to leverage these assets to project presence in the Arctic.

The reality is that as Arctic ice continues to recede, military, commercial and human activity by friends and potential foes alike is already underway and will only increase. U.S. leadership in the Arctic requires participation and cooperation on all fronts. Without the prospect for commercial investment, our nation’s ability to lead and engage on Arctic issues is diminished. Today’s decision represents yet another strategic withdrawal from the Arctic by the Obama Administration.”

Lucas Frances, talsmand for Arctic Energy Center, siger:

“The Administration has always justified a ban on Arctic development because of an alleged lack of local support or industry interest. The Arctic Energy Center’s research categorically shows that that is simply not true, with almost three quarters of Native respondents supporting offshore energy. Taken with last week’s news that sales of Beaufort Sea and North Slope leases generated $18 million, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Obama Administration is playing politics with the future of Alaska.”

National Ocean Industries Association’s formand Randall Luthi siger:

“President Obama’s short sighted, unilateral withdrawal of Atlantic and Arctic Ocean areas from future oil and gas leasing not only risks the long-term energy security and energy leadership position of the United States, it violates the letter and spirit of the law. Such an expansive withdrawal, particularly when argued as being ’permanent’, is clearly inconsistent with the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act’s steadfast declaration that ‘… the Outer Continental Shelf is a vital national resource reserve held by the Federal Government for the public, which should be made available for expeditious and orderly development, subject to environmental safeguards, in a manner which is consistent with the maintenance of competition and other national needs …’”

About Af Andreas Krog 101 Articles
Ansv. redaktør på Arktisk Nyt. post@andreaskrog.dk

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