Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Erik Grafe, 907-792-7102

Press Release

Department of the Interior Approves Shell’s Risky Arctic Exploration Plan

Agency gives Shell the stamp of approval to drill in fragile Arctic Ocean, despite threats to the Arctic and the climate
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced approval today for Shell’s plan to drill in the Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi Sea starting in July. 

Earlier this month, Earthjustice submitted approximately 38,000 comments to the agency of behalf of environmental supporters that requested the Interior reject Shell’s risky plan. The project Interior approved today  is bigger, dirtier, and louder than any previous plan, calling for more sound disturbances and harassment of whales and seals, more water and air pollution, and more vessels and helicopters.  It also runs the risk of a catastrophic oil spill that could not be cleaned in Arctic waters.

The company’s accident-filled efforts to drill in 2012 demonstrate that neither Shell nor any other company is ready to drill in the Arctic Ocean.  Shell proved that again just last month when its Discoverer drillship was held in port due to pollution control failures. Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean also takes us in the wrong direction on combating climate change.

Interior rushed through its reconsideration of the lease sale by which Shell obtained its leases when it reaffirmed a Bush era oil lease sale in late March. Now it has rushed to approve Shell’s drilling plan without adequately considering the potentially significant risks and effects of Shell’s operations.

“This decision places big oil before people, putting the Arctic’s iconic wildlife and the health of our planet on the line,” said Erik Grafe, Earthjustice staff attorney. “The agency should not be approving such threatening plans based on a rushed and incomplete environmental and safety review. Ultimately, Arctic Ocean drilling is far too risky and undermines the administration’s efforts to address climate change and transition to a clean energy future.  These fossil fuels need to remain in the ground.”

ONLINE VERSION: https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2015/department-of-the-interior-approves-shell-s-risky-arctic-exploration-plan

###

Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations, coalitions and communities.

Advocates Applaud as FTC Sues to Stop Microsoft-Activsion Mega-Merger

Biden's FTC, said one consumer campaigner, "is showing, once again, that it is serious about enforcing the law, reversing corporate concentration, and taking on the tough cases."

Brett Wilkins ·


Press Freedom Champions Renew Call for DOJ to Drop Charges Against Assange

"It is time for the Biden administration to break from the Trump administration's decision to indict Assange—a move that was hostile to the media and democracy itself."

Jessica Corbett ·


Oral Arguments Boost Fears of SCOTUS Buying Theory That Would 'Sow Elections Chaos'

"This reckless case out of North Carolina could explode the unifying understanding that power ultimately rests with the people of this country," one campaigner said of Moore v. Harper.

Jessica Corbett ·


War Industry 'Celebrating Christmas Early' as House Passes $858 Billion NDAA

"There is no justification to throw... $858 billion at the Pentagon when we're told we can't afford child tax credit expansion, universal paid leave, or other basic human necessities," said the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "End of story."

Brett Wilkins ·


GOP Florida Lawmaker Behind 'Don't Say Gay' Law Charged with Covid Relief Fraud

"It does not surprise me that someone who exploits queer kids for political gain would be charged with exploiting taxpayers for personal gain," said one Democratic state lawmaker.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo