The Arctic Ocean is one of the wildest, most extreme places on earth. When you put the most technologically advanced, best equipped offshore drilling rig up against it, the rig loses. The grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska earlier this year proves it. That's the central tenet of a Natural Resources Defense Council statement, quoted by Andy Revkin at Dot Earth, arguing against any offshore drilling in America's Arctic Ocean:
Last week the Coast Guard wrapped up a marine casualty investigation hearing in Anchorage that uncovered new details about Royal Dutch Shell’s reckless attempt to drill for oil in the wild and remote Arctic Ocean in 2012.
Though Shell’s debacles are plain to see, its experience also illustrates that even the best-prepared, best-equipped, and most technologically advanced oil company has no business drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Ever.
It’s a simple equation. Any company attempting to turn the most hostile drilling environment on Earth into an oil patch instantly puts in peril everything that makes the Arctic so unique. An oil spill could devastate endangered species like polar bears and bowhead whales, destroy habitat for millions of migratory birds, and jeopardize the subsistence-based Inupiat culture.
The upcoming report will no doubt fault Shell for being ill-prepared for offshore drilling in Alaska. But the report is much more than an indictment of Shell’s incompetence. It will be one more piece of evidence that no matter how well-prepared or technologically advanced, no oil company will ever be able to operate safely in the Arctic’s extreme environment.
We agree. It boggles the mind why we are pushing for fossil extremes in the Far North while neglecting clean energy at home.
(via Dot Earth)
Photo: A view of the Kulluk aground southeast of Sitkalidat Island, Alaska. (Jonathan Klingenberg/U.S. Coast Guard)