Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and a group of Senators were visiting the Gulf today to tour the oil spill and get the latest on the "cleanup" efforts. Greenpeace activists were also in the area to send them a message.
The activists took a stand at a drilling supply ship that’s scheduled to leave for the Arctic this summer. Oil from the spill was used to paint the message "Arctic Next?" on the bridge of the ship. Shell hopes to use the ship to support their plans for exploratory drilling off the coast of Alaska in July. But before that can happen, Secretary Salazar has to approve their plan. He’s literally deciding what to do as you read this.
Just like BP dismissed the possibility of a blowout and oil spill with its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf, Shell is saying the same thing about their plans for the Alaskan Arctic. We know better than that. The truth is that Shell’s plans in Alaska are even riskier than BP’s. The likelihood of a blowout is higher. And oil spill "clean-up" in this harsh, remote environment is impossible. The nearest Coast Guard station is a thousand miles away.
The only way to prevent disasters like the Gulf oil spill is to stop new oil drilling and wean ourselves off of dirty and dangerous fossil fuels like oil. A ban on Arctic drilling would be a first step towards a comprehensive ban on all new drilling in the United States.