Nefarious forces hampering Shell’s Arctic drilling include air, water, ice
Guys, I have some bad news. Shell’s attempts to drill exploratory wells in Alaska aren’t going that great. Cue the Shell-denfreude.
First, there was that ship that tried to escape, only to be dragged back into servitude. Then the company had to go hat-in-hand to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking if maybe, just this once, the agency would be cool with a little more air pollution coming from their drilling rig.
“Shell was then and remains now committed to making every effort to meet the emission limits imposed by EPA,” the company said in its application, adding that its testing has “demonstrated compliance with a vast majority of limits.”
Yeah, EPA. Be cool! Shell has complied with the vast majority of rules about not polluting the air, and the all of the air pollution that results from the burning of their oil is the consumers’ fault. Oil doesn’t pollute the air, people that burn the oil pollute the air.
And now this: Shell might not get the permits it needs in time to drill all the wells it wanted.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday that a decision to grant Shell permits to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast this summer could arrive as late as Aug. 15, giving the oil giant a tight window for the project. …
[T]he timing is important because Shell’s window to drill into hydrocarbon-bearing zones in the Chukchi Sea ends Sept. 24 under the exploration plan approved by Interior Department regulators, although other activities can last longer.
The company must clear out of both the Chukchi Sea and adjoining Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s northern coast by the end of October.
OH NOES, etc. On behalf of all Americans — nay, all of humanity — I demand that the Department of the Interior move as expediently as possible to get those permits to Shell! Also, I would like to invite the entire Department of the Interior to my awesome beach condo for the next month. Free food and drink, no laptops allowed.
But the real enemy here, as always, is that long-standing foe of the fossil fuel industry: ice.
Shell is already getting a later start than it had hoped on the costly project because it’s waiting for sea ice in the region to clear.
This is why the oil industry has no choice but to ensure that the globe is never again threatened by the specter of ice — impeding our resource extraction, sinking our luxury liners, blocking our transit through the Northwest Passage, etc. Nor would Shell think of drilling when the ice starts to reaccumulate.
“They would like to do as much of the schedule as they had hoped, but if the conditions don’t allow, they will not risk it. They have informed me that they will not risk that,” [Sen. Lisa] Murkowski [(R-Alaska)], the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday.
No, Senator Murkowski. Shell would not risk that. They would not risk having their ships damaged, unless they anchor them badly in high winds. Nor would they ever spill oil these days, unless it was in Nigeria. Shell is all about risk avoidance.
Or, at the very least, pushing off risk onto customers and future generations. It’s just smart business.
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