Target: Linda Jackson, EPA Administrator
Goal: To stop making an Air Quality Regulation exception for Shell’s Arctic Drilling Project
Despite public outcry against Arctic oil drilling, Shell is just weeks away from beginning a major offshore drilling project there. To make matters worse, Shell has recently admitted that the company has known since 2010 that its drilling rigs would be incapable of meeting the required air quality standards for this project but did not bring this to the attention of the EPA until now. This is not the first issue with Shell’s new project, but despite problems with a runaway barge and a spill containment vessel that is unfit for use, the company has been allowed to continue with their drilling plans to date.
Shell has advised the EPA that the rigs will be unable to meet the air quality requirements on this project and have asked for an exception to be granted in this case. Shell has, essentially, requested permission to violate the law and proceed with drilling when under the best circumstances, the probability of an Arctic oil spill has been put at 40% by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Shell’s failure to disclose its inability to meet air quality and emissions requirements at the time that the drilling application was filed is grounds for the EPA to reject the request for an exception and cancel the Arctic drilling permit and doing so would be the appropriate response to Shell’s deceitful practices.
In a separate incident, Shell was advised by the U.S. Coast Guard that its 40-year-old spill recovery barge was unfit for use. Shell promised the Coast Guard that it would make modifications to the vessel in order to withstand stronger weather and wind conditions. These modifications were never made and Shell has now stated that they are not necessary. Representatives of the company previously stated that they would be capable of recovering 95% of oil spilled in a major incident. That statement too, has been retracted and ambiguously reworded.
Shell has made its disregard for the environmental impacts of this project clear. If the company is incapable of meeting the minimum air quality regulations for this project after two years, how could the EPA demonstrate confidence in its ability to prevent a major drilling disaster? It’s time for the EPA to take a stand against Shell by canceling its drilling permit.
Dear Ms. Jackson,
Shell has recently requested that it be exempted from complying with the air pollution requirements for the Arctic drilling project. This request should be considered by the EPA as grounds to cancel the drilling permit. Providing a waiver in this case is, in essence, saying that air quality is of no consequence.
When a company is incapable of meeting even the minimum standards of environmental responsibility, how can it be expected to successfully prevent a major ecological disaster? We’ve seen the devastation that is caused by an oil spill on our own coast in the last decade and holding oil companies accountable for following the rules is the only way to lessen the probability of another disaster.
We ask you to send Shell home from the Arctic and demand that it comply with all environmental regulations prior to submitting any new drilling applications.
[Your Name Here]