Shell decision grants Arctic temporary reprieve

Additional protections needed for fragile Arctic waters

Summary:

  • Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, is reported today to have announced that the oil giant has abandoned plans for exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort Sea in 2011.
  • Despite the lack of infrastructure and cleanup technology that make oil spill response in the Arctic unfeasible, Shell intends to resume drilling plans for the Beaufort Sea in 2012.
  • Defenders urges the Obama administration to carefully scrutinize Shell’s proposal, rather than rubber-stamp drilling operations. Such scrutiny is not only warranted by the risk of the undertaking, but is required by law.  
WASHINGTON (02/03/2011) -

The following is a statement by Richard Charter, senior policy advisor for marine programs at Defenders of Wildlife:

“High risk offshore drilling in America's Arctic Ocean cannot be considered a responsible course until we learn to clean up the inevitable oil spills in the region's prevailing darkness, severe storms and broken sea ice, and until we have a Coast Guard presence closer than a thousand miles away.

“In the lingering aftermath of the BP Gulf spill catastrophe, and a similar shallow-water rig blowout in Australia, we simply cannot afford to invite an even worse disaster in the Arctic Ocean.”

###
Links:

Learn more about the threats offshore drilling poses to the Arctic.

Contact(s):

Richard Charter, (707) 875-2345
Caitlin Leutwiler, (202) 772-3226, cleutwiler@defenders.org

You may also be interested in:

Polar bear, © Tom Schneider
Conservation Issue
Climate change is now one of the leading threats to wildlife. Find out what Defenders is doing to help animals around the country survive in a warming planet.
Fact Sheet
With a coat that changes color and thick fur even on their paws, Arctic foxes are well adapted to their habitat’s extreme cold.
walrus, © Joel Garlich-Miller/USFWS
Fact Sheet
The walrus is a large marine mammal with flippers, a broad head, short muzzle, small eyes, tusks and whiskers. Scientists recognize two subspecies of walrus – the Atlantic walrus and the Pacific walrus.