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Global Warming

The wrong turn in the Arctic

The wrong turn in the Arctic

Nobody in their right mind vacations in the Chukchi or Beaufort seas. Only hard core geography buffs can even name them. Instagram isn't filled with photographs of close encounters with Arctic whales or polar bears. It is a cold and hostile environment.

But underneath, there may be as much as 30 billion barrels of oil, and as of this week, the fate of that unique part of the world — waters that, while hostile to humans, support an abundance of marine life not found elsewhere around the planet — may never be the same. That's because the Obama administration has decided to allow Shell...