Sierra Club: Shell Announces Plans for 2015 Arctic Drilling

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–January 29, 2015.  Shell Oil announced today that it will seek drill in the Arctic Ocean this summer, despite its dismal record in the area and a number of outstanding challenges, including the fact its permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea have not been approved.

The company has poured millions of dollars into drilling plans for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas but has yet to recover any oil. In 2012 the total failure of the company’s oil spill containment dome, the grounding of a drillship and more than $1 million in pollution fines ended a disastrous season.  Shell tried again to return to the Arctic waters in 2014 only to have its leases invalidated as a result of vastly underestimating the environmental risks posed by drilling in the Arctic’s harsh environment.

In response Dan Ritzman, Alaska Program Director for Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign issued the following statement.

“Shell has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted to drill safely in our Arctic waters. The company’s disturbing trend of failing to meet safety and pollution requirements, while purposefully downplaying  the risks posed by the shifting ice floes and extreme Arctic conditions cannot be ignored.

“The latest environmental assessment shows that there is a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill if Shell is allowed to move forward with its plans. A spill of that magnitude would have dire consequences for polar bears and a wealth of other wildlife that call this area home. It would also have long-lasting ramifications for fishing economies and local communities, while any development of dirty fuels in the Arctic would threaten our climate. 

“In recent days President Obama has taken important steps to protect the Arctic, recommending wilderness for the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge and placing some areas in the Arctic Ocean off-limits to drilling. It’s time for the administration to continue building that Arctic legacy by denying Shell’s risky drilling plans.  There are safer, cleaner ways to run our country.”