Obama Administration Approves Arctic Drilling

Ken AshfordEnergy and Conservation, Environment & Global Warming & EnergyLeave a Comment

The Obama Administration has now approved drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The concession was given to Royal Dutch Shell and the approval came from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) with a five page stipulation regarding protecting wildlife, the ocean, and human inhabitants of the area.

You may want to think, “well, okay — at least they are protecting the wildlife up there.  As an environmentalist, I’m okay now.”

Sure, but…. but no:

Green groups have been working on various fronts to block Shell’s drilling plan, saying the unique, treacherous conditions of the Arctic make drilling too risky. They also argue that Shell has a poor track record in the area.

“Once again, our government has rushed to approve risky and ill-conceived exploration in one of the most remote and important places on Earth,” Susan Murray, deputy vice president for the Pacific at the group Oceana, said in a statement.

“Shell has not shown that it is prepared to operate responsibly in the Arctic Ocean, and neither the company nor our government has been willing to fully and fairly evaluate the risks of Shell’s proposal,” she added.

“We can’t trust Shell with America’s Arctic,” added Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.

“As we all remember, Shell’s mishaps in 2012 culminated with its drilling rig running aground near Sitkalidak Island, Alaska. Events such as these demonstrated to the nation that drilling in the Arctic is reckless and irresponsible and that no oil company should develop there,” she said.

The remoteness of the location also means if Shell runs into any problems – say an oil spill or emergency malfunction – it will take considerable time for adequate resources to arrive in the area. It is not an accident that it has taken this long to open up drilling in the Arctic, the terrain is exceedingly difficult and hard to navigate.

Oil drilling in risky areas where access to oil leaks is difficult.  What could go wrong, right?  Besides, when they say nothing can go wrong in Alaska when it comes to oil, they know what they’re talking about.