Susan Murray, Oceana’s Senior Director, Pacific, issued the following statement in response to the approval of Shell Oil’s spill and response plan in the Beaufort Sea:
“Unfortunately, today’s approval, which comes on the heels of the approval of the Chukchi plan, is another sign the Administration is going after a “quick political fix” that places the public trust behind Big Oil’s bottom line. A year ago people were talking about the possibility of drilling one well in the Arctic and today’s approval will make it possible for Shell to drill ten wells, four in the Beaufort Sea and six in the Chukchi. Oceana encourages the Administration to follow a path of attaining and relying on good science, being prepared for a worst case accident, and having a full and fair public dialogue.
“In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a profound and welcome promise: 'I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago'. This promise could have easily been kept by keeping offshore drilling out of the Arctic. We could not effectively respond to or clean up a spill in relatively good weather in the Gulf of Mexico. In the Arctic, responders could face a nightmare of icy conditions, dense fog that lasts weeks, and hurricane-force winds. Currently in the North Sea there is a leaking rig that could spark a massive explosion. At this time industry has no way of mitigating the problem. This latest North Sea disaster is a crystal ball showing us the future in the Arctic.
“The last public U.S. Arctic in-the-water spill response tests were a failure so why is the presumption that the new tests are going to be a success? Footage from that most recent failed test is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dL3RGwpBaI
“This approval flies in the face of recommendations by the administration’s own Commission on the Deepwater Horizon and Offshore Drilling to ensure that there is enough science to understand the region and that there is infrastructure in place to deal with an offshore accident. Instead this plan approval shows a clear decision to bow to political pressure and Big Oil instead of prioritizing responsible stewardship of our ocean environment and resources for the good of the American people.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.