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These are the kind of election consequences I like to see.  In The Guardian Suzanne Goldenberg writes about the Obama Administrations ordering of a sweeping review of Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic, after a series of mishaps ending with the New Year grounding of the company's Kulluk rig.

Due to excellent reporting on this site we have become knowledgeable about the debacle called the Kulluk.   Shell oils Man of La Mancha redux and it's attempt to drill for oil in one of the most pristine and endangered locations on our planet.

Fortunately, we're not the only ones taking notice as the Obama Administration 1s raising the possibility that Shell may be forced to re-evaluate its proposals

The review – and a separate investigation of the grounding of the Kulluk – raises the possibility that Shell, after investing six years and $5bn trying to extract oil in harsh and remote conditions, may be forced to re-evaluate entirely its plans to drill in the Arctic.

The high-level review will home in on some of the most difficult moments for Shell since it began exploring for oil beneath the Beaufort and Chukchi seas last summer: a series of equipment breakdowns and safety and environmental violations.

[...]

"Our review will look at Shell's management and operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas," said Tommy Beaudreau, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management, who will be heading the 60-day review. "We will assess Shell's performance in the Arctic's challenging environment."

The Obama administration has been under growing pressure from Arctic scientists, environmental groups and activists to reconsider its decision to open up the Arctic to oil companies.  Let's keep up the pressure.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i am just relieved (4+ / 0-)

    that the Arctic was spared a spill from Kulluk before they were able to get it under tow.  Now let's get those drilling rigs out of the damn sea.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:01:09 AM PST

  •  An article from late December (7+ / 0-)

    before the accident:

    Watchdogs: US Regulators Are Not Prepared to Prevent Arctic Spill, Sue for Access to Info on Shell Oil Drilling Plan

    The watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) says the new regulatory agency that was set up to ensure offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon disaster "lacks basic assurances" that oil spills and other accidents will be prevented if Shell begins producing oil in arctic waters where sea ice and harsh conditions make drilling and spill containment difficult.
    PEER filed a lawsuit last week against federal regulators seeking access to information about what is being done to ensure operational safety.
    [...]
    After Shell postponed its arctic drilling plans, Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar issued an encouraging statement, calling the arctic oil expedition part of President Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy. Salazar pledged to continue to work with Shell, and he said valuable lessons had been learned through the company's efforts; but he did not mention the failed containment dome.
    "We have yet to see any evidence supporting the claim that Interior has upgraded the lax enforcement enabling the BP Gulf spill," said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "In fact, what few records we have been able to pry loose suggest just the opposite."
    PEER has sought information on how BSEE will address issues such as spill containment if Shell goes forward with its arctic drilling plans, but the group said BSEE has failed to respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). PEER filed suit against BSEE last week alleging the agency is withholding information on Shell's containment dome and other safety and operational measures.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:11:11 AM PST

  •  Well it's a good time for an investigation (5+ / 0-)

    because apparently they only have two rigs in the Artic and one can't operate unless the other is functional, so Shell can't drill right now anyway.

    Hopefully this will be a genuine investigation, and not just for show, and I hope that they do a real assessment of their spill response this time.

    US Army joins battle to save stricken Shell rig
    The US Army has been called in to help with the battle to salvage Royal Dutch Shell’s stricken Kulluk Arctic drilling rig, which has now been beached in environmentally delicate waters for nearly a week.

    Earlier visits showed that watertight hatches on the top segment of the rig had been breached and both the service and emergency generators had failed.
    Shell has received a permit from Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources to remove the Kulluk from where it is grounded. However, spokesmen for Shell and for Unified Command were unable to say when they expected the rig to be moved.
    The full scale of the damage may not be known until it is taken off the rocks.
    Analyst Jon Rigby at UBS said if the damage could not be repaired in time for Shell’s planned drilling programme this summer, its entire Arctic operation could be delayed.
    Safety plans dictate that Shell’s other Arctic rig, the Noble Discoverer, can only drill when the Kulluk is available to serve as backup in the event of a spill.

    My earlier comment has an excerpt that shows how their containment dome plan was a farce and they were allowed to drill anyway.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:30:24 AM PST

    •  Shells whole misadventure in the Arctic is a farce (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, LinSea, joanneleon

      Oil companies fly by the seat of their pants.  We saw that with BP and the Gulf oil spill.   They drill now and hope to avoid the consequences later.  

      This is good news.   I think this investigation will result in their gutting their plans by either their being rejected or regulations being placed that will make their project much less profitable.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 07:55:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I thought this investigation was more (0+ / 0-)

    than just window dressing, but I don't, BBinFL.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:28:05 AM PST

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