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.
- Witnesses report an explosion and then a frantic effort by concertgoers to flee. Ariana Grande had just finished her show.
- More than 100 people, many clad in rain jackets, braved a cool, overcast Saturday morning and gathered in midtown Anchorage’s Cuddy Midtown Park, urging lawmakers to support public education funding.
- In an effort to move along stalled port renovations, the Skagway Assembly wants to re-open negotiations with the company that controls much of its waterfront.
- Hilcorp operation managers were in Kenai to speak Friday at an Alliance luncheon. Cook Inlet Offshore Operations Manager Stan Golis updated the pro-oil industry group on recent oil and gas leaks.