Drilling in the Arctic Ocean? Really?

Sep 1, 2011

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Inspired by the “Really!?!” segment on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, we have taken a fresh look at arguments for allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic Ocean next summer:
     

“The U.S. Coast Guard can oversee Arctic Ocean spill response operations from its facilities approximately 900 miles away.” 1

Really!?!

“Canada’s National Energy Board says that oil spill response measures cannot be used in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea about 20 percent of the time in June, 40 percent of the time in August and over 65 percent of the time in October.  Shell Offshore, Inc. says it can recover 95 percent of an oil spill in the Beaufort during the summer.” 2

Really!?!

“The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE, the former Minerals Management Service) says it doesn’t need to collect more scientific information on whales and other marine animals in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea because knowing where animals migrate and give birth, for example, doesn’t affect where it offers drilling leases to oil companies.” 3

Really!?!

“BOEMRE says there doesn’t need to be an Environmental Impact Statement developed for exploratory drilling in the Beaufort because ‘no potentially significant impacts are expected to occur.’  Despite the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BOEMRE is not analyzing the consequences of a well blowout in the Beaufort.” 4

Really!?!

“Some in industry and government say the Arctic Ocean’s wind, fog, floating icebergs, and frigid working conditions won’t make offshore drilling and oil spill response any more challenging than in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Really!?!

When you think about it, drilling in the Arctic Ocean is a really bad idea.

Sources: 1Nearest U.S. Coast Guard facilities to the Arctic are in Kodiak, AK; 2Spill Response Gap Study for the Canadian Beaufort Sea and the Canadian Davis Strait, Table 8 (July 2011); Beaufort Sea Regional Exploration Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan, Shell Offshore Inc., p. 1-33 (January 2010); 3Lease Sale 193 in the Chukchi Sea, Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Appendix A (August 2011); 4Finding of No Significant Impact, Shell Offshore, Inc., Revised Outer Continental Shelf Exploration Plan, Camden Bay, Alaska, 2012 (August 2011).

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