Salazar says No Drilling Off Alaskan Coast, Until 2013
By Matt Murray
Published: December 3, 2010
Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar has announced that new new drilling leases would not be offered before 2013 in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, reports the Los Angles Times. Only after comprehensive studies of arctic oil spill clean up capabilities and environmental impact have been concluded on the remote north Alaskan region would new drilling be allowed.
Critics cite the severe lack of information and the current inability to clean up an oil spill in arctic conditions in a letter composed by a coalition of environmental groups. Native Alaskan groups are concerned that drilling for oil in one of the most fragile ecosystems on earth could lead to disaster.
That announcement was applauded by Shell, whose more ambitious program to drill several wells in both the Beaufort and Chukchi seas has been held up in the courts by conservation and Native Alaska groups concerned that oil operations in one of the world’s most fragile environments could lead to disaster.
“Today’s decision by the administration signals an important direction for companies like Shell to eventually return offshore crews to work providing jobs, adding important revenues, and supporting the economy,” Shell President Marvin Odum said.
Senator Mark Begich (D) applauded the initiation of an environmental impact study, seeing it as a green light for future drilling off the Alaskan coast. He added, “This decision to clear the way for responsible oil and gas in Alaska’s resource-rich offshore waters is great news for our state and the nation”.
Photo via Fleet Owner http://blog.fleetowner.com/trucks_at_work/2009/01/27/fuel-frustration/