The Latest On: Z - Closed - Fueling the Fire: Shell's Oil Drilling in the Arctic Ocean
Royal Dutch Shell announced it will suspend all activity in the Arctic for 2013. The oil giant endured many embarrassing and costly accidents while drilling exploratory wells off the north coast of Alaska in 2012. Both of the Arctic drill rigs will be traveling to Asia for repairs sustained during the severe weather common to the Arctic.
Shell announced that the company is hitting the pause button on oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic. Mother Nature graphically demonstrated this summer what conservation groups have been saying for more than a decade—the extreme weather and conditions of the Arctic, with its stormy, frozen seas make the Arctic environmentally treacherous for oil drilling.
With one Arctic drill rig shipwrecked on an Alaskan island and the other reportedly under criminal investigation for possibly “operating with serious safety and pollution control problems,” oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is doing a pretty thorough job at proving the quest for oil in the pristine waters of America’s Arctic is just too dangerous, too dirty, and too damaging. The week’s events also prove once again that the U.S. Department of Interior should not have approved drilling in the most remote, dangerous place on the planet.
Shell is expected to receive permits from the U.S Department of the Interior to drill for oil in the Arctic and hopes to begin as soon as next month. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar admitted that there are immense environmental safety risks associated with drilling in the Arctic, but proceeded to say that he does not anticipate an oil spill. In the event of a blowout, the company originally claimed that it could collect at least 90 percent of any oil spilled. In a more recent statement Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith backtracked.
Earthjustice filed a federal appeal on behalf of environmental and native Alaskan groups, seeking to block Shell Oil’s permit to send exploratory drilling vessels that could begin operating this summer in the northern Alaska’s Beaufort Sea.
According to Earthjustice attorney Colin O’Brien, "EPA did not analyze whether the Kulluk will comply with all standards, and they relied on modeling tricks to reduce the measured impact."