Long before the recent Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, there were laws in place to protect the marine environment. And yet more than 205 million gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of that explosion, leading to comparisons with the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill which spewed "only" 250,000 barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill, questions arose as to what, if any, lessons were learned as a result of the environmental damage caused by the Exxon spill. In theory, these lessons should have served as an incentive for nations, especially the Arctic nations, to ensure protection of the unique Arctic environment.
This paper will address whether this theory remains true today through an examination of the characteristics that render the Arctic so unique, the effect that climate change will have on that environment and the increase in oil and gas exploration and exploitation that will result from climate change. The effects of these characteristics will be demonstrated through a comparison of the Exxon Valdez spill to the Deepwater Horizon spill. An analysis of the existing legal regimes in the Arctic concerning natural resource exploration will lead to a proposed solution involving establishing Marine Protected Areas in the Arctic.
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||International Environmental Law|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 50/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Law, Environmental Law|
|Keywords:||Arctic, Deepwater horizon, Exxon Valdez, Marine protected areas|
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