STATEMENT: Interior’s Approval of Shell’s Arctic Oil Exploration Plan Is the Wrong Choice, Says CAP Ocean Policy Director Michael Conathan
Washington, D.C. — In response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s approval Monday of Shell’s offshore oil exploration plan for the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea, Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Giving the green light to exploratory drilling this summer is the wrong choice. Policymakers should not allow industrial activity to take place when the United States is fundamentally unprepared to deal with the potential fallout from mistakes in this remote and pristine region. In the Arctic, we lack both the infrastructure to clean up a major spill and the scientific understanding of how to do so in icy waters. Arctic Ocean oil and gas is just too risky to include in America’s energy portfolio.
The Center for American Progress has also repeatedly highlighted the immense climate change risks associated with Arctic drilling, which would undermine the Obama administration’s laudable Climate Action Plan. According to Conathan:
The end game of exploratory drilling is full-scale industrial oil and gas production in the Alaskan Arctic Ocean, which will result in increased emissions of global warming super pollutants, such as black carbon and methane, and as much as 16 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Protecting Americans and the Alaskan Arctic from the worst impacts of climate change requires leaving these fossil fuels locked up beneath the seabed.
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