Susan Murray, Oceana’s Senior Director, Pacific, issued the following statement in response to Royal Dutch Shell petition for declaratory relief filed Wednesday:
“It has been a little over a week since the government released their review of Shell’s spill response plan. It takes time to thoroughly read through 400+ pages of information. It is highly unusual and odd that Shell would sue based on the idea that someone might challenge their spill response plan, and raises a specter of doubt about their own confidence in their plan.
“Oceana believes in a cautionary science-based approach to development and in this case Shell has ignored USGS identified science gaps and does not have a spill response plan that uses technology that has been proven to work in unforgiving Arctic conditions.
“Neither Shell, the government nor anyone else have ever demonstrated the ability to recover more than a negligible fraction of oil spilled under typical Arctic conditions except within the confines of contrived, small-scale field tests conducted under optimal conditions.
“Americans deserve affordable energy and healthy oceans. It is our job as an ocean conservation group to ensure the health and productivity of our oceans and the communities that depend on them. Unfortunately, Shell’s action is an attempt at stopping us from doing that.
“Instead of wasting time in the court room Shell should be out on the water making sure their spill response plan actually works and proving to America that their coastlines are safe in case of emergency. 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; and there are not sufficient personnel or equipment in the region capable of carrying out an effective offshore response plan.
“A paper plan is not enough; no public in the water spill response tests have been conducted in the U.S. Arctic Ocean since 2000. That test failed miserably, as shown in this footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dL3RGwpBaI
“As Shell sits poised to reap tremendous profits from offshore drilling in the Arctic, the American people are being forced to assume all the risks. And with this frivolous lawsuit Shell is trying to silence us.”