The Gray Lady reports that our Department of the Interior “granted Royal Dutch Shell conditional approval of its plan to begin drilling exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean next summer, a strong sign that the Obama administration is easing a regulatory clampdown on offshore oil drilling that it imposed after last year’s deadly accident in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Clifford Krauss expects legal challenges soon. The oil giant’s disdain for the Nigerian people does not bode well for the Arctic. “An oil spill in the untested Arctic is far more likely than any other place in the world.” Nonetheless, notes Kiley Kroh: “The president of Royal Dutch Shell’s U.S. operations is increasingly confident that the company’s proposal to drill in the harsh Arctic will be approved as early as 2012, despite a top Coast Guard officer’s recent testimony asserting that the U.S. government is not ready to respond to a spill in Arctic waters.”
After numerous accusations of Royal Dutch Shell covering up its oil spills in Nigeria, a landmark study released today by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) found that cleaning up five decades of spills in the region could require “the world’s most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken.” The highly anticipated report estimated that the damage wrought by Shell, by far the largest operator in the region, and other companies in the Niger Delta will cost an initial $1 billion and could take up to 30 years to complete.
UNEP’s analysis found that most of the oil spill sites the companies claim to have cleaned up are still highly contaminated and that emergency measures be taken to warn communities. The report identifies several severe public health and environmental threats – including soil contamination reaching more than five meters deep in many areas and, in Nisisoken Ogale, “researchers found 8cm of refined oil floating on ground water that served community wells.” Shell was ejected from the communities in 1994 for widespread pollution, but oil spills have continued to occur “in alarming regularity.”
Asks one commentator: “Do we really want a foreign company drilling in our Arctic with this kind of cleanup record?”
“We could give it to BP…haha,” replies another commentator.
“But,” I thought, “isn’t Tony Hayward doing it to the Russians now?”
- Shell Gets Conditional Approval From Obama Administration For Arctic Oil Drilling (treehugger.com)
- Niger Delta villagers go to the Hague to fight against oil gant Shell (guardian.co.uk)
- If An Oil Spill Happens In Icy Arctic Waters, We Have No Way To Really Clean It Up (Video) (treehugger.com)
- You Think America Has A Lot of Oil Spills? Welcome to Nigeria, “the World Capital of Oil Pollution” (thinkprogress.org)
- The Aftermath of the Yellowstone River Oil Spill (treehugger.com)
- An Oil Spill Runs Through It: Montana Suffers Another Pipeline Rupture (thinkprogress.org)
- Yellowstone River Oil Spill Spreads 240 Miles – If This Was Keystone XL It’d Be 20 Times Worse (treehugger.com)
- Shell accepts liability for Nigeria spills (guardian.co.uk)