In a few short months, Royal Dutch Shell is set to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic—another rich and fragile region.
…If a spill occurs in the harsh, unpredictable Arctic environment, it could spell disaster for ecosystems and wildlife, as well as the Native peoples of the region, whose way of life depends upon healthy ocean ecosystems.
Little or no capacity exists to handle accidents and oil spills in ice-filled seas. In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard acknowledges that there is no proven technology available today to contain and clean up an oil spill where sea ice is present.
…Furthermore, Minerals Management Service and Shell did not even include the possibility of a major spill in their risk analyses of exploratory drilling in the Arctic.
…The Arctic is one of the least-understood regions of the planet, making it difficult to predict the consequences of increasing industrial activity and the inevitable unintended consequences, such as oil spills.