The U.S. Department of Interior announced this morning it is allowing Shell Oil to proceed with its drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea. Peter Granitz reports.
This is just the latest hurdle overcome in Shell’s quest to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean.
The Department of Interior granted the go-ahead to Shell to begin installing some of its safety mechanisms, including a mud-lined cellar that will eventually house a blowout preventer.
On a conference call, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stressed today’s announcement is not final. It does not permit Shell to drill exploratory wells for oil.
“The action we are taking today is one we are very comfortable in taking, because we are confident it can be done safely and without risk to the environment,” Salazar said.
He says Shell needs to improve its containment capacity on the Arctic Challenger. Drilling cannot begin until that vessel is approved and in the Arctic.
- The Juneau Assembly has appointed Dr. Bob Urata and Lance Stevens to the nine-member Bartlett Regional Hospital board. Urata is a physician with a longtime practice. Stevens is a former president of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.
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- The Juneau Access Project envisions 50 more miles of road up Lynn Canal to a ferry terminal closer to the road system. It has divided the Juneau community for decades and faces significant opposition from other southeast cities including Haines and Skagway. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker pulled the plug on the $574 million project last month.
- The Juneau Assembly heard more than 90 minutes of testimony from dozens of residents including merchants, social workers and homeless people themselves who all agreed on one thing: Juneau has a serious homeless problem. But speakers had radically different viewpoints.