Alaskans Express Serious Concerns About Arctic Offshore Drilling

Drilling rig arctic ocean under tow
A drilling rig is under tow in the Arctic Ocean, circa 1983. Image by Hubert Kaylor

In an article in the Anchorage Daily News, Lois Epstein, Arctic Program director for The Wilderness Society, and member of the Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee for the DOI’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). expressed major concerns about Alaskan arctic drilling plans currently in the works by Shell:

For those of us who have watched with dismay as the Obama administration moves forward with approval after approval of Shell’s oil drilling permits for the Arctic Ocean, there’s a logical disconnect: Why would the administration allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean when there’s a reasonable likelihood of a disaster in the making?

Consider these three critical concerns:

  • Very few of the post-BP Oil Spill Commission’s and the National Academy of Engineering’s recommendations have been implemented, including no reforms to date by Congress.
  • Our understanding of the region’s ecology and the impacts a major spill would have, including on subsistence, is greatly insufficient, according to the administration’s own study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Additionally, there’s no plan to remedy that problem.
  • Spill “cleanup” technologies are primitive, with recovery of oil contacting the ocean measured in single-digit percentages.

In his article, Mr. Epstein further discusses these issues, and touches on the recent Shell Nigeria oil spill, and BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Read the rest of his article here: http://www.adn.com/2012/01/01/2242202/were-not-ready-to-drill-safely.html#storylink=cpy