Shell’s 2012 campaign was not short on mishaps: A rig that ran aground, a failed test of spill containment systems, and small punishments from the government – including a ban on drilling deep into hydrocarbons.
The Department of Interior allowed the company to proceed with pilot hole drilling despite not having a system in place to contain a worst case scenario oil spill.
“We have both a government willing to accept corporate assurance, and a company that clearly is not prepared for the Arctic,” complained Oceana attorney Michael Levine.
Oceana is one of the groups that filed suit. Levine said the government should have forced Shell to file an environmental impact statement for its Arctic plan.
The judge ruled that Shell does not need to submit to the E-I-S process. Congress would need to rewrite the laws to require that.
“The government argued, and the judge agreed, that in approving a spill plan the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has to do little more than check off on a list that Shell has particular equipment. It doesn’t have to decide whether it might actually work, whether those technologies have been tested, or might do the things the company says they will.” – Levine
Shell declined to speak on tape for this piece, but in a written statement, a spokesperson said the company welcomes the news.
Shell suspended its Arctic campaign after last year’s blunders. The federal government then released a report increasing expectations for any future drilling companies in the Arctic. Shell has not specifically said when it will return to the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
The groups could appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.
- For the second time this year, a Republican from Matanuska-Susitna Borough left the state Senate majority caucus.
- The U.S. Senate is working on the health care bill, and Alaska health commissioner Valerie Davidson is in Washington, D.C., to meet with Alaska's senators, Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski. One-quarter of Alaska's population currently is covered by Medicaid.
- Police posted this security video of the suspect on its Facebook page and described him as white, 25 to 30 years old, 6-foot-3 and skinny with scruffy facial hair.
- Uber and Lyft are negotiating with the City and Borough of Juneau over the collection of the city's sales tax. The companies insist it's the drivers' responsibility to collect and remit the 5 percent tax on fares.