On May 11, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management conditionally approved Shell’s plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea off the northwestern coast of Alaska, putting sensitive habitat at risk of an oil spill and other dangers.
The U.S. Coast Guard has spoken, and its message is clear: The Kulluk drill rig ran aground in Alaska because Shell recklessly and knowingly towed it into a brutal North Pacific storm, in part to dodge taxes in Alaska.
Six U.S. senators have asked Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to delay decisions about new leasing and exploration for offshore oil and gas until the government completes a thorough re-evaluation of the environmental and safety risks, and issues enhanced, Arctic-specific regulations.
Shell is telling the federal government that it’s ready to return to Alaska and drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi Sea in 2014, even though the company is still recovering from the beating dished out by the Arctic during the company’s first attempt in 2012.
In a clear concession that no oil company is a match for Arctic weather, Shell's president Marvin Odum announced on February 27 that Shell will "pause" it's exploratory drilling operations for the year.