Greenpeace activists protest ExxonMobil’s brand new arctic rig

by Jason Schwartz

March 24, 2014

On the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, 14 Greenpeace activists carry out a direct action against an ExxonMobil oil rig that is destined to drill in the Russian Arctic. 5 of the activists board the West Alpha rig, and climb the stairs of one of the legs, before unfurling a banner saying No Exxon Valdez in Russian Arctic. Through this action the group are calling for a ban on offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and for renewed efforts to fight climate change.

© Will Rose / Greenpeace

ExxonMobil is the largest oil company in the world. 25 years ago today, it was responsible for one of the worst oil disasters ever. The Exxon Valdez spill devastated Alaska’s Prince William Sound, its economy, and its communities.

Now ExxonMobil wants to venture even further north, into a remote and harsh area of the Arctic. There, it will set up a massive rig and start drilling.

Today, to mark the anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill and to protest ExxonMobil’s plans to put yet more northern ecosystems and communities at risk, Greenpeace activists staged an action. They scaled the rig, which currently sits in port inlen, Norway before its trip to the Russian portion of the Kara Sea. The activists unfurled banners to bring attention to ExxonMobil’s plans and to call for their cessation.

Five of the activists scaled the West Alpha rig and unfurled signs.

Five of the activists scaled the West Alpha rig and unfurled signs.

The window to drill in the Kara sea is only 8-10 weeks long. ExxonMobil plans to begin drilling this year. Luckily for ExxonMobil, Russia’s regulations for drilling in its waters are not that strict. For instance, there is no requirement that ExxonMobil provides a relief rig, which would be crucial if spilled oil were to be kept from getting under Arctic ice. If ice got under ice, it would be irrecoverable and utterly catastrophic.

Check out the video below, and go and sign this petition. Let’s at least get President Obama to commit to keeping the Arctic free of monstrosities like ExxonMobil’s arctic rig.

Jason Schwartz

By Jason Schwartz

Jason Schwartz is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based in New York City.

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