“Safe drilling in the Far North is a Fantasy” But Court Says Otherwise

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Commenting on Monday’s ruling by a federal judge in Anchorage that Shell’s oil spill plans for drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas don’t violate environmental laws, Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said:

“Even a cursory glance at Shell’s oil spill response plans shows that the company could not deal with an accident in these remote and challenging waters, and we’re disappointed that the court ruled in Shell’s favor. Despite admitting that a spill in the frozen north is inevitable, Shell operated with a response plan that relied on untested technology and equipment totally incapable of working effectively in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. The company’s claim that it could handle a worst-case spill in the Chukchi Sea is absurd. There have been no tests of spill response equipment in US Arctic waters since 2000 and those equipment tests were deemed a failure.”

“Safe drilling in the far north is a fantasy. There is no proven way of cleaning up oil spilled in icy waters and by rubber stamping such an obviously flawed response plan, the US government is inviting the nightmare scenario of a Deepwater Horizon-style spill in the Arctic. Shell came close to disaster almost every week off Alaska last summer and should simply not be allowed to drill in these fragile waters. The Arctic urgently needs protection and Greenpeace won’t stop until that happens.”

The legal challenge was brought by a number of groups including Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice, NRDC, REDOIL, Alaska Wilderness League and Sierra Club. The full complaint can be read here.

Article appearing courtesy Celsias.

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About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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