Shells Arctic Ocean drilling reaches new depths
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved Shell’s revised drilling permit to allow the company to drill thousands of feet below the Chukchi Sea to where oil and gas may be discovered. When the agency approved Shell’s final drilling permits last month, the company was limited to drilling only the top sections of two exploration wells until its capping stack was present. The capping stack is required to help contain the flow of oil and gas in case of a well blowout similar to what happened during the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. The arrival of the capping stack was delayed when the icebreaker that was carrying it, the MSV Fennica, was damaged and had to turn around for repairs in Portland, Oregon. Shell broke ground on its first exploration well on July 30, and has been given permission to continue drilling until the season ends on September 28. This is the final permit that Shell required for drilling this summer.
Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:
Today’s decision makes it final: President Obama is willing to allow the pristine Chukchi Sea to become an energy sacrifice zone and worsen climate disruption. When President Obama announced his Clean Power Plan last week, he committed the U.S. to leading the world in addressing climate change, but giving Shell the green light to exploit the Arctic Ocean for profit completely contradicts that commitment. President Obama should know better — Shell has no business in our Arctic Ocean, and he will bear responsibility for the damage that Shell wreaks there.
When President Obama visits the Arctic this month, he must face the communities he is sacrificing to Shell’s profits. As the brave climbers and kayaktivists that blocked the Fennica demonstrated, the fight to protect the Arctic Ocean is not over until President Obama hears the message, loud and clear: the only path to a safe climate future is to leave Arctic Ocean oil and gas in the ground.