EPA considering Shell permit change request

Shell Oil is seeking to changes to the air permit for one of its drill ships after a spokesman says generator engines tested slightly above permit levels for ammonia and nitrous oxide.

Curtis Smith says Shell is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toward a compliance order that would allow the Discoverer to operate this year. He says this would set in motion a review process for the permit changes for 2013 and beyond.

Shell hopes to begin drilling in the Arctic waters off Alaska in weeks.

Suzanne Skadowski, with EPA public affairs, says this is a major permit and the agency hasn’t decided how to proceed.

She says the regulations for such permits don’t talk about modifications so EPA is reviewing whether it’s appropriate to make revisions.

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