Target: President Obama
Goal: Ask the president not to give Shell any new Arctic drilling permits for 2013, given that the conditions of Shell’s rigs have caused concern about potential oil spills in the Arctic.
Currently, the Interior Department is conducting a review of Shell’s drilling plans. Some members have expressed concern over, in Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s words, Shell’s “series of mishaps.” On February 11th, 2013, Shell announced that it will be towing two Arctic drilling rigs to Asia for repairs. Drilling in the Arctic is a tremendous gamble for the environment, and the last thing our oceans need is another dangerous oil spill. But many of Shell’s rigs are looking to be high risk prospects: one rig has seen its hull and electrical systems damaged, while another, Noble Discoverer, may require a full engine replacement, not to mention the damage from fire that it has received. Should aging and damaged rigs really be operating in the Arctic?
The Center for American Progress has reported on the extensive dangers of this off-shore Arctic drilling, comparing the potential threat to that of the BP oil spill in 2010. But unlike the BP oil spill, an oil spill in the Arctic would not be mitigated by infrastructure: according to the Center, “There are no U.S. Coast Guard stations north of the Arctic Circle, and we currently operate just one functional icebreaking vessel. Alaska’s tiny ports and airports are incapable of supporting an extensive and sustained airlift effort. The region even lacks such basics as paved roads and railroads.” Facing such a lack of infrastructure and a region known for dangerous and unpredictable weather, it would be nearly impossible to deliver the necessary supplies and personnel in order to respond to any large-scale emergency.
Sign this petition to urge President Obama not to issue any more permits to Shell for off-shore drilling in 2013. With all the dangerous conditions that have been outlined above, there’s no reason to give Shell any more green lights on drilling.
Dear President Obama,
In stating that you would respond to the threat of climate change, you have given environmentalists hope that you will advocate firm restrictions with regards to potential dangers such as off-shore Arctic drilling. Currently, the Interior Department’s reviews of Shell’s rigs gives us reason to believe that Shell is not safely prepared to be drilling in the precarious Arctic region, and if Shell continues to receive drilling permits, something as catastrophic as another giant oil spill could occur.
The Center for American Progress has reported many reasons to be concerned about the prospect of Shell rushing to drill using rigs which are damaged or old, while drilling in an area without the necessary infrastructure to combat a disastrous oil spill. For the sake of the environment, please do not grant Shell any new permits in 2013, and please restrict other companies from drilling in the Arctic until such time as safety measures have been better accounted for.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: “Arctic” in Wikimedia Commons; “File:Sea_ice_terrain.jpg”