Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Just Got Presidential Approval

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Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Just Got Presidential Approval

'If drilling happens, oil will spill, contaminating waters that Arctic communities and wildlife depend on,' writes Prokop. 'Even worse, drilling also threatens the entire planet by fast-tracking catastrophic climate change.' (Photo: Greenpeace)

This is outrageous. On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and then followed that up by approving Shell’s climate-killing plan to drill in the Arctic.

This is a setback, but we’re not giving up. Right now, six volunteers aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza are tailing one of Shell’s drilling rigs across the Pacific, and across the city of Seattle, where Shell’s Arctic fleet is set to dock, concerned residents are mobilizing. And people all over the world are standing up against Shell.

Shell plans to begin exploratory drilling for oil in Arctic waters this summer. If drilling happens, oil will spill, contaminating waters that Arctic communities and wildlife depend on. Even worse, drilling also threatens the entire planet by fast-tracking catastrophic climate change. With sea ice at its lowest ever this year, it’s time to take action.

Shell thinks it’s won, but it hasn’t accounted for pushback from the environmental community. Over half a million individuals petitioned President Obama and the U.S. government to stop Shell’s plans and save the Arctic. Our politicians may have caved to the oil industry, but we know we’re ready to take the next step.

Last time Shell was allowed in the Arctic, it ran the oil rig Kulluk aground off the coast of Alaska, a dangerous accident that put the lives of workers and the Alaskan ecosystem at risk. In a separate incident, a containment dome was “crushed like a beer can.” There’s no reason to expect that this effort will go any better, and it’s only a matter of time before oil spills.

Any oil spilled in the Arctic will be nearly impossible to clean up. Worse, the scientific journal Nature’s analysis of our climate says that if we’re going to avert disaster, we need to keep the Arctic’s oil reserves in the ground. But Shell and our government are willing to gamble away our children’s future for oil.

Take action here.

Rachael Prokop

Rachael is an online campaigner at Greenpeace USA. She frequently writes about ocean issues and Arctic drilling.

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