The Arctic Institute published an article titled, “Can International Law Protect the Arctic from Oil Spills?”. The article reads in part as follows:
Offshore oil development in the Arctic is still in its nascent phase, with production occurring in Russia and Norway, but on hold in Canada, the US, and Greenland. As production rates and new discoveries are expected to increase in the coming years, so will the risks of a large-scale oil spill in Arctic waters. The challenging operating conditions, lack of infrastructure, and effective clean-up techniques in Arctic conditions exacerbate the need to ensure robust regulation of petroleum activities in the region. International law provides a detailed framework regulating spills from shipping, but is not nearly as stringent when it comes to spills from petroleum development activities. While international treaties establish binding obligations to cooperate in response operations, there is a gap in regulating the prevention of such oil spills. The role of non-binding regulation, or soft law, is growing, with the Arctic Council leading the way.
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