What should Greenpeace call Shell’s latest “uh-oh”?

by Lisa Ramsden

January 9, 2013

Mishap. Incident. Accident. Calamity. Honestly, we’re running out of words to describe what Shell has done these past six months.

If you do a quick search for news articles involving Shell’s Kulluk drill rig, you will find a long, less-than-flattering list of headlines. Since Shell began its voyage north towards the Chukchi Sea last summer, they have made numerous mistakes that demonstrate they are not Arctic ready.

The most recent mishap, of course, being when Shell’s Kulluk drill rig ran aground near Kodiak Island, Alaska last week. Due to this large incident, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior announced yesterday that they will launch an assessment of the 2012 arctic drilling operations.

We wanted to remind Secretary Salazar (and all of the Department of the Interior) of Shell’s terrible track record as they begin this assessment. Today, Greenpeace activists showed up at an Ocean Energy Safety Advisory meeting at the DOI to highlight Shell’s failures over the past six months.

The headlines speak for themselves.

Arctic oil: Shell seeks last-minute break on air pollution permit LA Times, July 2012

Shell Oil ship slips anchor; incident raises questions about Arctic drilling plan CNN, July 2012

Troubled Arctic Challenger cited for small illegal discharges LA Times, August 2012

Misfortune strikes again for Shell Oil rig returning from Arctic Alaska Dispatch, November 2012

Shell’s spill containment dome was ‘crushed like a beer can’ in Sept. testing Anchorage Daily News, December 2012

Rig Runs Aground in Alaska, Reviving Fears About Arctic Drilling NY Times, January 2013

How many more <insert preferred synonym for “screw-ups”> will it take for our government to realize that Shell is not prepared for this? And most importantly, when will they realize that the Arctic is a place to be protected – not a place to be pillaged?

Lisa Ramsden

By Lisa Ramsden

Lisa Ramsden is currently a Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace USA. She spent the past decade working with Greenpeace's Actions team.

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