Issuu on Google+

Shell Targets Prime Polar Bear Habitat “Shell’s oil-spill response plans for the Arctic have premier polar bear habitat is again facing always read like a fairy tale; they utterly fail to take imminent danger: Oil giant Shell has into account the extreme conditions,” says Lawrence. announced new plans to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi “The nearest Coast Guard base to Shell’s Arctic Sea — home to more than half the nation’s polar operations is 1,000 miles away. Fundamentally nothing bears — and the has changed: The company is teaming Arctic remains just up on the project as unsafe for drilling with one of the key now as it was in 2012, culprits behind and it’s not going to 2010’s cata­strophic get any safer.” Deepwater Horizon Also unchanged: oil spill. Scientists NRDC’s resolve to say a major oil keep Shell out of the spill in the Arctic Polar Bear Seas — Ocean could be the Chukchi as well an unprecedented environmental The Chukchi is home to more than half of America’s polar bears. disaster, one made that much worse by the harsh as the Beaufort, which borders the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We continue to weather, heavy seas and massive ice floes of the Arctic. fight in federal court against the lease sales that “You’d think Shell would have learned its lesson by and we’re fully prepared to challenge the oil giant opened the door to potential drilling in the region, now,” says Niel Lawrence, legal director of NRDC’s and the Obama Administration on new legal fronts Arctic protection campaign. Indeed, the oil giant’s if their plans violate our laws and endanger our last foray into the area, in 2012, was an unmitigated environment. Shell will need permits to pollute the failure, a series of embar­rassing blunders and Arctic air, discharge wastewater into the Arctic Ocean harrowing close calls that included the malfunction and harass and harm marine mammals during drilling. of critical safety equipment, pollution resulting in So far, the administration seems all too willing to $1.1 million in fines, a near miss with a 30-mile- accommodate the company’s Arctic ambitions. “The long iceberg, and the grounding of a 260-foot drill American public needs to understand that there is rig. Yet the company appears unbowed, determined no proven method — none whatsoever — for cleaning to return to the Chukchi and drill as early as this up a major oil spill in Arctic waters,” says Lawrence. summer. Alarmingly, Shell plans to lease its drill rig from Transocean, the company whose Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in 2010, spewing millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. “And it’s not just one company we have to worry about. If Shell proceeds with drilling in the Chukchi, you can bet that the rest of Big Oil will want to follow.” Take action at: Polar bears © Steven J. Kazlowski/ A fter being spared in 2013, America’s 3

Nature's Voice Winter 2014

Related publications