For Immediate Release

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Erin Jensen

Interior Approves Shell’s Dangerous Drilling Exploration Plan


The Department of the Interior gave conditional approval of Shell’s revised Exploration Plan for oil and gas drilling in the Chukchi Sea, pending receipt of drilling permits from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Compared to the original 2012 version, the revision calls for more drilling equipment and predicts seven times more pollution discharges will occur directly into the ocean. Interior approved the revision despite the absence of critical information about the impacts of oil and gas exploration on wildlife, air and water pollution, and climate change.

Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:


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It’s outrageous how our own government appears determined to sacrifice our precious Arctic Ocean for Shell’s profits. The Department of the Interior’s hasty approval of Shell’s revised Exploration Plan ignores its legal duties and sets us on the path toward climate catastrophe. With a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill and more drilling equipment, air, water and noise pollution, this is the largest, loudest and dirtiest exploration plan ever proposed in the American Arctic Ocean. Interior’s approval of this plan is unconscionable given that the latest science says Arctic oil must be kept in the ground in order to have a chance at keeping the planet safe.

This is not the type of climate leadership the American public deserves or expects. President Obama should stand up to Shell for a clean energy future just like Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who recently joined hundreds of activists calling for the Seattle Port Commission to reconsider its decision to allow Shell to house its Arctic drilling equipment in their coastal waters. Mayor Murray told Shell that Seattle is no place for oil companies that contribute to climate change, oil spills and other environmental disasters. Similarly, the American Arctic Ocean is no place for dangerous and reckless oil and gas development. The only place for these dirty fossil fuels is in the ground.


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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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