Environmental groups have branded Greenland’s government “completely irresponsible” for giving the go-ahead for the drilling of two new oil wells west of Disko-Nuussuaq. Greenpeace has called the decision to hand out the licenses “indefensible” at a time when Norway, Canada and the US are freezing new permits. All three countries have declared moratoria on deepwater drilling after the colossal and ongoing environmental disaster caused by the explosion on a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
WWF has also spoken out against the move, saying “an immediate moratorium on new drilling activities in the Arctic is a basic requirement until the international community has considered the need for increased regulation and stronger environmental standards,” reports Sermitsiaq.
UK-based energy firm Cairn also asked for permission to drill another two wells in West Greenland in addition to those already underway. Environmentalists have, however, called for all projects to be halted immediately.
“It’s bitterly disappointing that oil exploration has begun in this sensitive Arctic environment,” said WWF’s head of policy Dr Dan Barlow. “The decision to drill flies in the face of decisions by other countries to postpone drilling while they take stock of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.”
“It is time for countries to recognise that offshore oil drilling with current technology and response capability poses unacceptable risks in the Arctic, where conditions are far more extreme. The consequences of such an event in the cold climate would lead to a persistence of ecological damage over many decades,” he said.
The Gulf oil spill has affected five US states and is thought to be the worst environmental disaster in their history, reports Siku News.