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USA: Obama Ignores Huge Dangers in Approving Arctic Drilling Permit for ShellDrilling Set to Begin Immediately Risks Massive Spills, Polar Bears, Walruses, Bowhead Whales
Update 21 December 2012: U.S. unveils plan to manage huge Alaskan oil reserve
August 30, 2012
Contact: Rebecca Noblin, (907) 274-1110
ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The Obama administration today gave Shell Oil the initial approval to begin controversial and dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska, despite the fact that a critical oil-spill containment vessel is still awaiting certification in Bellingham, Wash. Until now, the Arctic Ocean has largely been off limits to offshore drilling. Shell Oil is expected to begin the initial phases of exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea as soon as it can get its drillship in place, in the heart of habitat critical to the survival of polar bears.
“By opening the Arctic to offshore oil drilling, President Obama has made a monumental mistake that puts human life, wildlife and the environment in terrible danger. The harsh and frozen conditions of the Arctic make drilling risky, and an oil spill would be impossible to clean up,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Scariest of all, the Obama administration is allowing Shell to go forward without even having the promised oil-spill containment equipment in place.”
Since 2007, the Center and its allies have successfully protected the Arctic Ocean from Shell's exploratory drilling plans...