US senators call for Shell’s Arctic approval to be called off

Washington: A group of 18 US senators has urged the federal government to reverse its recently-awarded approval for Shell’s Arctic oil-drilling plans.

Just two weeks after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency of the Department of the Interior, gave the conditional go-ahead for Shell’s proposed campaign, the senators want another agency, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), to halt all offshore oil and gas drilling permits in the region.

In putting their case the senators, who cover a range of states both coastal and inland, say the Arctic is a very difficult environment in which to respond to accidents such as leakage or spillage of toxic liquids

The conditional aspect of the BOEM’s approval did hinge on Shell being able to convincingly show it is capable of handling such a crisis. But the senators don’t want to put their eggs all in that “conditional” basket.

They also said drilling in the Arctic contradicted President Barack Obama’s intention to limit emissions linked to climate change.

Shell has been preparing its fleet in Seattle, getting ready to return to Arctic exploration for the first time in three years when it puts its rigs in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska.

Scientists believe the region could hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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