BREAKING: Shell announces 2015 Arctic drilling plans

by Travis Nichols

August 28, 2014

The Shell conical drilling unit Kulluk sits aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, in 40 mph winds and 20-foot seas January 1, 2013. The Kulluk grounded following many efforts by tug and Coast Guard crews to tow the vessel to a safe harbor when it was beset by winter storm weather during a tow from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, to Everett, Wash.

© The United States Coast Guard

In response to news that Shell is preparing a new application to drill in the Arctic next year, Greenpeace Arctic Campaign Specialist John Deans said:

Shell clearly believes the approval process is a formality and that it will be able to do whatever it wants in the Arctic next summer. The company is lurching forward despite the flood of reports from government agencies and environmental groups that Arctic drilling is too risky, that the Arctic is too vulnerable, and that Shell itself is too incompetent to proceed. If the Obama Administration is serious about climate change, it needs to prove it by keeping Shell out of the Arctic.

Shells preparations are a red flag for the millions of people around the world who want to save the Arctic from catastrophe. Shell clearly hasnt learned anything from its last Alaskan misadventure, which would have been funny had it not put lives, local communities, and a delicate ecosystem in grave peril. Shell is putting the pieces in place for next summer so it will at least appear competent to the administration, but anyone who has been paying attention knows that Shell isnt Arctic-ready, and, more importantly, that the Arctic will never be Shell-ready. Shell is hoping the public and the US government will confuse their commitment for competency.

The Dutch oil giant has bungled its way through its Arctic operations and squandered nearly $6 billion so far– and all they have to show for it is a containment dome crushed like a beer can, a grounded drill rig, and a PR disaster. Even with all of the money theyve spent, Shell hasnt been able to prove they can operate in the Arctic.

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