0 votes

It's a new year, but one thing hasn't changed: Shell still can't be trusted to drill safely in America's Arctic

On New Year's Day, a Shell Oil rig, carrying over 150,000 gallons of petroleum products, broke free from its tugboat and ran aground near Kodiak Island, Alaska.

This is the last straw after a long string of failures. Tell President Obama to immediately cancel Shell's drilling permits before it's too late.

Last year, Shell came close to drilling for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas - also known as the Polar Bear Seas because they are home to 20% of the world's polar bear population. But Shell showed it was completely unprepared for the reality of the stormy waters of the Arctic Ocean. Shell’s ships caught fire, the spill clean-up equipment was destroyed during testing, and at the last minute, Shell admitted it wouldn't be able to comply with its clean air permits.

But this most recent incident is the last straw. The Polar Bear Seas are far too important and fragile to leave in the hands of Big Oil. They are home to walrus, endangered ice seals, hundreds of species of migratory birds, and bowhead and beluga whales. Shell’s incompetence could lead to an irreversible disaster.

Tell President Obama: we can't trust Shell in America's Arctic.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

We should boot every foreign oil company from our shores.

Shell is the netherlands state oil company, BP is the British state oil company.

These monsters need to go screw up their own lands and seas.


I can see from your posts

I can see from your posts that you tend to embrace environmentalist agendas and talking points without much critical analysis of your own. You have your right to your opinion but you should also be truthful in your post here. Although the Shell rig broke free in near hurricane force winds off of Kodiak it has caused no damage to the environment to date while in transit to maintenance facilities for the winter.

The sierra club is a historically poor source of information in my experience. Like many of these type of alarmist organizations with highly paid administrators they are in business of selling sympathy for the environment (whether the issues and/or circumstances they tout truly exists or not) and have been less than truthful in their efforts in the past from my very direct experience. There is as much corruption at these organizations as is alleged with the industries they attack claiming altruistic intentions.

This issue of the a rig breaking loose from a tug while in transit should not be over blown into anything more than what it is.

“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” ― Henry Ford.

Shell ended 2012 with one of

Shell ended 2012 with one of its drill ships grounded dangerously on a rocky Gulf of Alaska shore near Kodiak Island. But the company's problems started long before that.

On the way up to Alaska, Shell lost control of the drill ship Nobel Discoverer, and the company's oil-spill containment dome was damaged during a failed sea trial off the comparatively mild coast of Washington. Not an auspicious start.

Then, after claiming that it could clean up 95 percent of a major oil spill in the Arctic, Shell backtracked to say that it would only "encounter" that much spilled oil. It also brought enormous political pressure to secure a Clean Air Act waiver for higher levels of particulate-matter, nitrogen-oxides, and ammonia pollution and pushed the Coast Guard to lower safety standards for its oil-spill response barge, the Arctic Challenger. As of last week, the Coast Guard was investigating the crew of the Noble Discoverer for possible violations of federal law.

But the grounding over New Year's of the drill ship Kulluk, with more than 150,000 gallons of oil on board, has to be the final straw. Thankfully, the Coast Guard was able to rescue the rig's 18-person crew, but not before a hellish 18 hours of 40-mph-plus winds and 35-foot seas in the dark Arctic winter.

The grounding of the Kulluk points to a common thread in Shell's Arctic misadventures: greed. Originally, the drill ship was supposed to stay in Dutch Harbor over the winter. What prompted Shell's sudden decision to move the Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer out of the state before January 1, 2013 by undertaking a risky crossing of the Gulf of Alaska? The company wanted to avoid paying millions in taxes by exiting Alaska.

What Shell's doing in the Arctic is a perfect lesson in the deadly allure of "extreme" oil. Whether it's deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, digging for tar sands oil in the forests of Canada, or attempting to drill in Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, the risks and dangers far outweigh any possible benefit beyond a thirst for profits.

And even if we could justify risking pristine Arctic wilderness, the habitat for dozens of threatened and endangered species, and the livelihoods of Alaska's indigenous people (which we can't), there's still the problem of climate disruption. The U.S. government estimates 26 billion barrels of oil might be under the Arctic Ocean. Even if we could safely get to that oil, burning and releasing that much carbon pollution into our atmosphere would mean a global climate disaster. The International Energy Agency estimates that two-thirds of known global fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if we are to have a shot at stabilizing warming at 2 degrees Celsius, which itself is a risky target -- more than double the warming we’ve already felt.

For Shell, 2012 was a year of dangerous mishaps that show why oil cannot be safely drilled from the Arctic Ocean. For the rest of us, it was a year of climate disasters -- from droughts and wildfires to record heat and the superstorm Sandy -- that show why it's more important than ever that we move beyond oil for good.

Send a message to President Obama: We can't trust Shell in America's Arctic.


"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

Avoiding tax liability is

Avoiding tax liability is part of doing business.

You are wasting your time with me with your talking points. I have intimate knowledge of this subject and your assumptions are simply incorrect on nearly every point. The sierra club has no credibility.

Secondarily,the climate has been warming for over 10,000 years now. Arctic excavations have proven during the last cycle the globe was much warmer than now. The industrial revolution began in the late 1800's with less than 150 years of data to the contrary no credible evidence ties our ability to change the cycle of global warming by altering human carbon and other emissions. My opinion is the rhetoric is more about creating carbon markets through cap and trade and a move by government for more control globally than it is really about attempting to change the direction of the global warming or cooling cycles. Sorry to disappoint.

“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” ― Henry Ford.