I don't know if you watched the near disaster unfold back in 2012 with regards to Shell attempting to drill in the Arctic but I did. I knew about the pass they got for an air polluting generator. I knew about the "cap" they were testing that was supposed to stop a blow-out that was crushed like a beer can during testing. I heard about the ship that drifted towards the coast nearly beaching itself and then of course, you may even be able to still find videos of the stranded drilling rig that got loose from the tug boats and lodged itself on a rock outcrop just off an environmentally sensitive island. I held my breath stopping my life to watch what was happening day after day to see if they managed to dislodge the rig without a diesel spill. NOW.........this is what is CURRENTLY HAPPENING..........the text below is from a petition that I just signed.
If it wasn’t so damn sad it would be hilarious: Royal Dutch Shell (aka the Keystone Cops of the Oil industry) just crashed another one of their Arctic drilling vessels, and they still want to go ahead with drilling. What’s worse? The Department of the Interior just might let them.
First, Shell ran the drill rig Kulluk aground in Alaska in 2012, resulting in 8 felony convictions for recklessness and willful deception of authorities1. Now, they’ve torn a 3 foot gash in their primary icebreaker, Fennica.
On July 3rd, Shell was taking a shortcut2 through shallow, treacherous waters with the Fennica when they struck something hard enough to puncture the hull of their toughest icebreaker.
Shell has now been forced to send the Fennica south to Portland, Oregon for repairs. This is Shell’s only icebreaker equipped with a “cap stack”, the mission critical gear needed to cap a blown-out well.
Shell’s own safety plans – the ones they had to submit to the Department of Interior in order to get permits to drill in the Arctic – rely on having two primary icebreakers in order to avoid accidents that can lead to devastating oil spills.
Without the Fennica, Shell is in violation of its own Oil Response Plan, as well as its Exploration Plan.
Yet the Department of Interior just granted a limited permit allowing Shell to begin the drilling process, while keeping it from actually digging down to the oil itself. This conditional approval is a another step in the wrong direction, but Shell will still need a new permit to drill for oil once it completes the Fennica’s repairs.
Shell is now pushing any responsible reading of their permit, and proven they value money over the safety of our oceans and climate.
The next step should be clear: the Department of Interior should cancel the permits they have already granted Shell, and refuse to grant any more.
Sources and Further Reading:
1.“Coast Guard Blames Shell Risk-Taking in Kulluk Rig Accident,” National Geographic, April 2014. http://bit.ly/1cnY6nN
2. “Damaged Arctic icebreaker’s route questioned,” Fuel Fix, July 2015. http://bit.ly/1IjusMJ
3. “Shell To Proceed With Arctic Drilling Despite Damaged Icebreaker Ship Carrying Critical Emergency Gear Heading To Portland For Repairs,” Desmogblog, July 2015. http://bit.ly/1Lv1prU