05/11/2010 - With the spotlight shining on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and on the executives sizzling in the hot seat on Capitol Hill, environmental advocates are looking north.
They’re worried that Shell Oil will start drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska before the U.S. government reports on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill rig disaster. And the environmental groups are not comforted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s reassurances that no new drilling will take place until the government report is completed by May 28.
An analysis of Shell’s exploration drilling plan by the Pew Environment Group says that provisions for cleanup in the event of a Chukchi Sea oil spill are inadequate and too distant from the prospective drill site. Marilyn Heiman, the former director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Commission and now with the Pew group’s U.S. Arctic program, quoted the Shell exploration drilling plan as saying that “a large oil spill, such as a crude oil release from a blowout, is extremely rare and not considered a reasonably foreseeable impact.” Heiman said the U.S. Minerals Management Service’s environmental assessment also dismissed the probability of this kind of blowout and spill as “insignificant.” A blowout at BP’s well off the Louisiana coast is the source of the oil spill there.
Read the full article Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Prompts Worries About Arctic Drilling on Reuters' Web site.