For Immediate Release

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Rebecca Noblin, (907) 274-1110

Government Report Details Failures in Shell's Arctic Drilling Program

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The Department of the Interior today released a report on Shell’s ill-fated 2012 Arctic drilling season, finding that Shell’s oversight of contractors was inadequate and its technology inappropriate for severe Arctic conditions. Several setbacks, including the grounding of its Kulluk drilling rig, failure of its oil-spill response containment dome and the Coast Guard’s discovery of numerous safety violations on its Noble Discoverer drilling rig, have prompted Shell to delay its future plans in the Arctic.

“While this report confirms that Royal Dutch Shell royally screwed up in 2012, it doesn’t do enough to make sure those mistakes aren’t repeated in the years to come,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Drilling in the Arctic can never be made safe for polar bears, whales and ice seals or the fragile ecosystems where they live. President Obama should have used this opportunity to rethink his support for Arctic drilling and take if off the table forever.”


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More than 1 million people sent President Barack Obama messages last year asking him to save the Arctic from drilling. Shell’s initial exploratory drilling, begun last summer, was characterized by a series of accidents and mistakes. The Center, its ally groups and citizens have said for years that there are no adequate safety measures to protect people and wildlife in the Arctic’s extreme conditions. A spill would be nearly impossible to clean up.

“This report confirms what we already knew: Shell shouldn’t have gotten a foot in the door in the first place,” Noblin said. “We don’t need another report to tell us that it’s time to put a moratorium on Arctic Ocean drilling and protect this special place before it’s too late.”


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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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