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 Chukchi Sea:
“Americans deserve affordable energy and healthy oceans. We can reach that goal by relying on good science, being prepared, and having a full and fair public dialogue. Unfortunately, today’s approval, which comes just two days after an exploration well blowout on the Arctic coast, is another sign that it is business as usual and that public trust is being put behind Big Oil’s bottom line.
“The Obama administration has joined Shell in oil spill response dream land. We could not effectively respond to or clean up a spill in good weather under favorable conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. In the Arctic, responders could face icy conditions, dense fog that lasts weeks, and hurricane-force winds in a place nearly 1,000 miles from the nearest Coast Guard facilities. There is no proven method of cleaning up an oil spill in Arctic conditions; there are not sufficient personnel or equipment in the region capable of carrying out an effective response plan offshore; and there are gaps in basic scientific information about the ocean ecosystem needed to prioritize response, rescue, and cleanup efforts and equipment.
“We applaud the government for moving forward with in-the-water tests of oil spill response equipment, but it is ludicrous to approve Shell’s spill plan before those tests are even done. The last public 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 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.