President Barack Obama’s visit on Monday to Alaska where he will push for action on climate change has drawn a mixed reaction from environmentalists, who condemn his stance on offshore drilling.
Green groups say the president says one thing and does another, some even calling his attitude “hypocritical”.
They say that while Obama’s trip to publicise the retreating Arctic glaciers and highlight the damaging effects of global warming is welcome, his administration’s decision to approve Arctic drilling by Shell, currently ongoing, is a contradiction. Effectively, they say, the Shell approval is a reiteration of the “drill baby, drill” slogan used by Republicans since 2008.
Obama’s office says the recent approval of Shell’s campaign in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska is thoroughly regulated by safety checks and balances.
It also says its task is to balance environmental protection with economic development and many groups, including Alaskan native peoples and the oil industry, say the extraction of fossil fuels is an economic necessity.
Obama is the first sitting president to visit Alaska.