Interior’s Approval of Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Threatens Climate, Ocean

WASHINGTON (May 11, 2015) – The Interior Department today approved Royal Dutch Shell’s Chukchi Sea exploratory drilling plans, clearing the way for its drilling rigs to operate off Alaska for the first time since 2012 – when one Shell rig had to be scrapped after running aground off Kodiak Island and another incurred a $12 million fine for breaking maritime law.

The following is a statement by Franz Matzner, director of the Beyond Oil Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“No company deserves a license to despoil our last pristine ocean and spew massive amounts of carbon pollution into our atmosphere.

“President Obama must protect our planet and our children’s health from dangerous climate change. That should mean saying ‘no’ to Shell and ‘yes’ to clean energy alternatives.

“This wrong-headed decision also will expose the Arctic to the likelihood of catastrophic spills in ice-choked waters more than 1,000 miles from a Coast Guard base and other critical clean-up infrastructure. Any major Arctic Ocean spill would be impossible to clean up.”

For background on the climate impacts of Arctic Ocean drilling, see Franz’s April 28, 2015, blog here.


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