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U.S. Government Moves to Limit Offshore Drilling in the Arctic

The Interior Department cancels Arctic lease sales a few weeks after a major oil and gas company said ‘sayonara’ to offshore exploration projects.

via wikipedia commons user SonicR~commonswiki

It appears that hotly contested oil and gas drilling in the American Arctic is going the way of the dodo. The U.S. Department of Interior announced Friday that it is canceling two lease sales and will not extend current leases for companies interested in drilling in the Arctic waters off the Alaska coat.


The move comes just three weeks after major oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell said it would halt offshore drilling in the in the area because exploratory wells did not yield what the company had hoped.

Leases held by Shell and the Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil will expire in 2017 and 2020. Though both companies have applied to the Interior Department to retain their leases, the announcement means their requests have been denied.

The upshot is excellent for polar bears and other Arctic animals that could have been disturbed by extensive drilling activities, and for environmental groups that worry burning fossil fuels found in the Arctic could hasten climate change. As the Associated Press explains, the U.S. government’s decision “significantly reduces the chances for future Arctic offshore drilling.”

via wikipedia commons user Ansgar Walk

“That [decision] pretty much shut down offshore,” Alaska Governor Bill Walker told the AP. Walker traveled to Washington, DC earlier this month to advocate for opening up small portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

“The only thing left is onshore,” Walker continued. “We know where the oil is. We just don't have access to it."

The Interior Department’s decision does not appear to be strictly motivated by environmental concerns. “In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “Current market conditions and low industry interest made the leasing decision easier. “

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Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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